The Tortoise and the Hippo

February 11, 2005


“Mom, I want to be just like you.”

Owen, the baby hippo was lost and probably orphaned during the Tsunami. He met Mzee, a 100 yr old Tortoise, at a wildlife sanctuary and now he follows it around like it is his mom. Ahhh… It’s all over the internet and according to Snopes, it’s true.

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 tortoise also housed in that space. The 100 year-old tortoise named Mzee (Swahili for “old man”) was not immediately taken with the brash newcomer — he turned and hissed, forcing the hippo to back away. Yet within days, the pair had forged a friendship, and now eat and sleep together. Owen has even been seen to lick the tortoise, whom he regards as his new mother.

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