Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tortoise and Hippo

This is not the kind of thing I ever post on my blog, but this story touched me. Plus, it's a nice change from the usual fare.

(Thanks, Brian.)

Tortoise and Hippo

"Much of life can never be explained but only witnessed."- Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.

The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean, then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, 2004 before wildlife rangers rescued him.

"It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park, told AFP.

"After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added. "The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added.

"The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years," he explained. This is a real story that shows that our differences don't matter much when we need the comfort of another. We could all learn a lesson from these two creatures. Look beyond the differences and find a way to walk the path together.

Save the Earth... it's the only planet with chocolate.

(Sorry, couldn't resist...plus Norman kinda looks like the hippo)


Jimbo said...

Read more about Owen & Mzee at their blog:

Join the Owen & Mzee Yahoo Group at:

pissed off patricia said...

I posted about this some time back because just like you, I thought it was just so sweet and it makes you realize that friends come in all different places and all different ways. It's a great little story.

Elvez73 said...

Thats a cool post, brings a smile to your face. Those are good lookin pups, are they French Bulldogs? I'm with you on taking pics of my dog, I try not to post too many but its hard when you have the most photogenic Jack Russell on the planet!!

Jim Marquis said...

That is a nice story. Nice pictures too.

Lizzy said...

I'm glad you everyone liked the story.

elvez, The black one is a pug (her name is Stella.) You got it right on the other one. He is a French bulldog.

Snave said...

Great photos!

Nice li'l smushy-faced dogs, too!

Damien said...

Thats it, I want a pet Hippo for Christmas. It'll look great in a
studded collar with a lesh.

Anonymous said...

That's a nice story; nice pictures. It shows that animals are more adaptable than we think. Too bad Homo Sapiens isn't as flexible or adaptable.