People spend weeks planning the perfect proposal hoping to make the life-changing moment as magical as it can be… And hoping for a ‘yes’.
Naturally sometimes things go wrong but for Nick Kelbe and his girlfriend Hayley Roll the appearance of a baby hippo just made the proposal more spectacular.
Sure they were upstaged by the cute animal but the couple were absolutely delighted.
On October 8 Nick decided to get down on one knee at The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Ohio while visiting their favourite animal, a hippo named Fiona that they had never seen in person before.
Deciding that she wanted the best seat in the house, Fiona swam down to the window and watched an ecstatic Hayley say yes.
The excited bride-to-be shared a photo of the occasion on Instagram writing:
We’re so happy Fiona could be there on our special day.
Here’s to many more years of going to zoos with you.
Hayley, a radiology tech at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, is reported by The Daily Buzz as saying:
We went to the zoo for our one year anniversary and Fiona was in the window.
We are huge Fiona fans and have been following her since she was born.
Nick, my boyfriend and I were waiting in line to get our photo taken with Fiona and I gave my cell phone to someone to take the photo and when I turned back around, Nick was on one knee proposing.
The proposal couldn’t have been any better!
According to Hayley no-one at the Zoo knew that the engagement was going to happen, neither did the stranger who helped the couple capture the moment.
But it seems like Fiona did…
Weighing just 29 pounds when she was born six weeks premature, full term hippos normally weigh between 50 – 100 pounds, Fiona is the smallest hippo known by the zoo to have survived an early birth.
In January this year she became the first Nile hippo to be born at the zoo in 75 years.
Fiona clearly takes after her father then as 36-year-old Henry survived an infection and abnormal kidney function that vets thought untreatable.
However, after he was given antibiotics Henry seems to be on the mend.
Fiona demonstrating that hippos don’t actually float or swim. They walk along the bottom and propel themselves to the surface for air.
Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Saturday, 21 October 2017
Nile hippos are considered to be vulnerable with their numbers declining over the past 10 years.
Currently it is estimated that there are between 125,000 and 148,000 remaining in the wild although these numbers are likely to decline further.
That’s because poachers are killing the animals for their ivory tusks and meat and they are also losing their habitat as more water is being used in agriculture.
The Zoo’s hippo calf was named Fiona because it means ‘fair’.
Curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo, Christina Gorsuch, said:
Every baby needs a name and her animal care team thought the name was a perfect fit for their ‘fair’ little girl.
They have been with her 24 hours a day and think this name suits her personality.
I think my eyes are welling up….
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.