Fiona’s Bloat Buys Boat: Ugandan Hippos in Crisis

Summary of Fiona’s Bloat Buys a Boat for Ugandan Hippos in Crisis:
Fiona the hippo and her companions at the Cincinnati Zoo have significantly impacted both their local community and wild hippo populations. Fiona’s role as an ambassador has raised awareness for her species and helped raise funds for conservation efforts in Africa. Half of the proceeds from special tours go towards projects the hippo conservation team chose, including funding a boat for rangers in Uganda. The conservation efforts in Uganda have faced challenges due to drought, flooding, and poaching, leading to a decline in hippo populations. The Cincinnati Zoo provides support by purchasing a boat and partnering with the Global Conservation Foundation. The author is proud to work at the zoo, which prioritizes animal care and conservation. This positive story of collaboration and impact serves as a source of hope amidst the challenges faced in conservation.


1. Fiona and her bloat-mates have become influential ambassadors for their species and have raised awareness for the conservation of hippos in Africa.
2. The Cincinnati Zoo is raising funds to support conservation efforts in Uganda, specifically to provide a patrol boat for rangers trying to protect hippos.
3. Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) has recently faced numerous challenges, including drought, flooding, and poaching, impacting the hippo populations.
4. Two rangers have lost their lives while protecting wildlife, and a $25,000 boat, a crucial piece of equipment, was destroyed.
5. The Cincinnati Zoo is making a significant contribution towards buying a patrol boat, and the Global Conservation Foundation matches their donation.

A unique and fascinating story unfolds in Cincinnati’s vibrant and spirited city. It revolves around Fiona the hippo and her bloat-mates, who have captivated hearts and become ambassadors for conserving their species. Their impact has extended beyond the boundaries of the Cincinnati Zoo, touching the lives of wild hippos in crisis in Uganda. Together, they have paved the way for increased awareness and fundraising efforts to support African conservation projects.

Funding the Protection of Hippos in Uganda:

The Cincinnati Zoo is committed to supporting conservation efforts and has taken up the cause of protecting hippos in Uganda. With a deep-rooted passion for wildlife preservation, the zoo has dedicated fifty percent of all proceeds from their “Hanging with Hippos” behind-the-scenes tours to conservation projects vetted by the hippo conservation team.

One of the most critical needs identified by the Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF), the zoo’s partner in this endeavor, was acquiring a patrol boat. The past four years have been particularly challenging for UCF, with drought, flooding, and pandemic-related lockdowns negatively impacting local farming economies and increasing poaching activities.

The USCF’s Struggles to Protect Hippos:

Michael Keigwin, the founder of UCF, highlighted their difficulties. The economic strain on local communities had driven more people toward poaching, leading to disastrous consequences for wildlife and the rangers working to protect it. Tragically, UCF has lost two rangers in the line of duty in the past year alone. A devastating blow came when their most valuable asset, a $25,000 patrol boat, was destroyed.

Decimation of Hippo Populations and the Urgent Need for Help:

The challenges faced by UCF have severely impacted hippo populations in Uganda. Over the past four years, the number of hippos in the region has been decimated by as much as 70%. This alarming decline emphasizes the urgency and significance of conservation efforts.

The Cincinnati Zoo Steps Up:

In a heartening display of commitment and solidarity, the Cincinnati Zoo has pledged to provide support to combat these adversities. They are making a tangible difference on the ground by contributing funds towards purchasing a patrol boat. What makes this gesture even more remarkable is that the Global Conservation Foundation has agreed to match their contribution, doubling the impact of their efforts.

The Power of Animal Ambassadors:

As a zoology, zookeeping, and wildlife conservation professional, I have never felt prouder of the organization I work for. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has made animal care and conservation their core mission, truly recognizing the potential of animal ambassadors.

Fiona and her bloat-mates have enriched the lives of those who visit the zoo and influenced the fate of their wild counterparts. Through their presence and the stories they inspire, they have become instrumental in raising awareness and generating support for the conservation of hippos in Africa.

A Rainbow of Hope:

In a world often clouded with negative headlines, sharing stories of hope and resilience is essential. The efforts of the Cincinnati Zoo, alongside the support of individuals and hippos alike, have illuminated a rainbow amidst the gloom. Together, we can contribute to the preservation of wildlife and the protection of those who safeguard it.

In conclusion, Fiona’s Bloat’s mission to support hippos in crisis has transcended the Cincinnati Zoo’s boundaries, reaching Africa’s heart. By funding a patrol boat, the zoo provides tangible assistance to the rangers who face immense challenges on the frontlines of conservation. The collaboration between the Cincinnati Zoo and organizations like the UCF and the Global Conservation Foundation underscores the power of collective action. It is a testament to the positive change that can be achieved when individuals, organizations, and animal ambassadors unite for a shared cause.

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