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,
'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.
who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.
~ copy of an e-mail from a friend ~