Hippopotamus and the Tortoise

“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, 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 away 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 followed 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.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,

but by the moments that take our breath away.”

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 of God,

“Look beyond the differences and find a way to walk the path together.”

Save the Earth… it’s the only planet with chocolate.


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5 thoughts on “Hippopotamus and the Tortoise

  1. Pam

    Has anyone on update on this story? The hippo is past the four year mark that they stay with the ‘mother’ so what is going on with these two?

  2. Sonia

    You’ll never guess that this true story has inspired a writer to write a childrens book called,”A Mama for Owen”. My little girl is reading this very book right now. And she’s tinkle pink to find out that this is truly a real story!

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