The Hippo And The Tortoise

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Kitchen Sink

A real tale of friendship…and touching story…

Bereaved by the forces of nature and discovered by wildlife rangers near certain death in the Indian Ocean off Malindi, the one-year-old male hippo calf dubbed Owen was on 27 December 2004 placed in Haller Park, a wildlife sanctuary in the coastal city of Mombassa, Kenya.

As soon as he was placed in his enclosure, the orphaned youngster immediately ran to the giant tortoise also housed in that space. The tortoise, named Mzee (Swahili for “old man”) and estimated to be between 100 and 130 years old, was not immediately taken with the brash newcomer â€â€? he turned and hissed, forcing the hippo to back away. Yet Owen persisted in following the tortoise around the park (and even into a pool), and within days the pair had forged a friendship, eating and sleeping together. Owen has even been seen to lick the tortoise, whom he regards as his new mother. (Wildlife workers speculated that Owen may have been attracted to Mzee as a parental figure because the tortoise’s shape and color are similar to those of an adult hippopotamus.)

(Hat Tip: Boing Boing)


This entry was posted on Friday, December 30th, 2005 and is filed under Kitchen Sink. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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