A baby hippopotamus, survivor of a tsunami along the Kenyan coast, has formed a close relationship with a 130-year-old giant male tortiose. The hippo, a 650-pounder nicknamed Owen, was saved by wildlife rangers after being swept down the Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean.
Now living in an animal facility in Mombassa, Owen immediately befriended Mzee, who is his surrogate mother.
"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'," says ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park.
"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.
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