The Hippo and the
Tortoise Who Became Friends After the Tsunami-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor
A story and pictures tell
of a baby hippopotamus and a giant tortoise who linked up as friends
after being displaced by the tsunami waves in Kenya, Africa.
This odd pairing really did happen.
According to numerous news accounts the hippo and the tortoise found
each other at a wildlife refuge where they were taken after being
stranded by the tsunami disaster.
According to the BBC, the hippo is about 1 year old and was found
alone and dehydrated near the Indian Ocean in Kenya.
He was taken to a wildlife enclosure near Mombassa where keepers
have named him Owen.
He and a 100-year-old tortoise named Mzee struck up a friendship and
have been partners ever since.
Keepers say they are inseparable and that the tortoise has been
mothering the baby hippo.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
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,
The hippopotamus, nicknamed ! Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650
pounds), was swept down Sabaki
into the Indian
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
"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 t heir
mothers for four years," he explained.