Sunday, January 29, 2006

Love Thy Neighbor (Encore)

After posting yesterday about the neighborly love between Annie the horse and Tigger the cat, commentor Moose was reminded of the similar hippo and tortoise story that surfaced after the tsunami of December, 2004. When I mentioned that I might need to add that story, Merlin Princess commented that she didn't know anything about it, so please do.

Well then! It may be even more touching than the horse-cat story! Basically, a baby hippo (nicknamed Owen) was floundering in the surf off the Kenyan coast, separated from its adult herd and near death. On December 27, 2004, just after the tsunami, he was placed in an animal facility in the port city of Mombasa.

As soon as he was placed in his enclosure, the orphaned youngster immediately ran to the giant tortoise also housed in that space. The tortoise, named Mzee (Swahili for "old man") and estimated to be between 100 and 130 years old, was not immediately taken with the brash newcomer -- he turned and hissed, forcing the hippo to back away. Yet Owen persisted in following the tortoise around the park (and even into a pool), and within days the pair had forged a friendship, eating and sleeping together. Owen has even been seen to lick the tortoise, whom he regards as his new mother. (Wildlife workers speculated that Owen may have been attracted to Mzee as a parental figure because the tortoise's shape and color are similar to those of an adult hippopotamus.)













A year later, Owen and Mzee are still together. Supposedly sometime this year conservation workers are planning to introduce Owen to Cleo, a 13-year-old female hippo who has gone without companionship from her own species for over 10 years. Cool if that happens but I sure hope they include the tortoise in the introduction and make it a three-some!

So, if Dad were here and preaching a sermon today on these two unlikely pairs becoming "neighborly," what would he say! I'm guessing he'd remind us that in spite of all our differences and disagreements and "natural" dislike for anything we don't understand, MAN ALIVE! IF THEY CAN DO IT, WHY CAN'T WE!

[2/2/06: Apologies for not attributing above photos to Peter Greste. This is one of those stories that went around the internet many times via e-mail, so I checked urban legends to confirm the veracity, but neglected to check further into photo authorship. Mea culpa!]

18 comments:

  1. i absolutely love that! talk about complete acceptance.

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  2. Thanks, Lesley. Isn't that the truth!

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  3. I've seen this story before and it's just so hearwarming, as was your other one, Ginnie.

    You know what they say:"You can't help who you love!"

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  4. I love the images of animals that almost look like statues, so tough on the outside, and yet they relate to each other at such a seemingly intimate level.

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  5. Man, that is awesome! I love stories that make you feel good like that. I had not heard it before. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Thanks for this nice story. Animals are so full of surprise! Very touching! Loved that! Ginnie, you are a real Lady! :o)

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  7. Christina: No, you can't!

    Ruth: Hard outside shell, soft inside body--just like our Cancer friends :)

    Mr. Fab: I guess I figured everyone had heard about the hippo-tortoise story, which is why I didn't write about it first. Yes, very inspirational!

    MP: Surprise is a good word! (And I'll take the "real Lady" as a compliment. Thanks :)

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  8. Aww! And I just love Hippos. They're so cute. Animals are sometimes so much more "human" than we are. Athough it would probably insult them to read what I just wrote.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this story. I like animal stories mostly when they are unusual. It is a really good one.

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  10. I have hear about this story but i didn´t see photos before. They are lovely. Really nice post.

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  11. CS: Well, they're more human and more humane, more often than not. And I think they would take that as a compliment!

    Mei: It really is a good story!

    Rojo: Thanks (muchas gracias) for your comment!

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  12. This one and the Tiger-Annie one are really great! Working in the tourist area of Quebec, I see many people from everywhere, and sometimes, it's very strange, you talk with somebody and have the feeling that this person could be your brother or sister.

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  13. that is just too cute! You know there was a snake and a mouse that became friends too! It started out as dinner but the snake never ate the mouse and they became friends! I just can't get over how cute that last photo was! Geeze I haven't had too much time to stop by this week and you've had great posts!!!!

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  14. Very, very cute... they are so gentle...
    thanks for share this photo, if you authorice me, I'll exhibit it on my blog.. I haven't my screen now (It's dead, admited on LG support) but when it come back...
    bye for now
    jm

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  15. Clo: Well, we ARE brothers and sisters the world over! That's what these animals are telling us,I think.

    ET: Now that's a new one for me--the snake and the mouse. Seriously?? Yes, such photos are so adorable and mystifying!

    JM: These are Public Domain photos, as far as I know, so you can do with them as you please :) Hopefully you'll get up and running soon.

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  16. ;-)
    Thanks Ginnie... I hope too, but that's Spain, I'm living in other dimension :-DD...for a sample: theoretically I'm working now, really I'm writing you. It's possible that double dimension in the rest of Europe ??
    sample two: I'm still waiting for the courrier to carrie up my screen to technical service and what's more:
    yesterday my modem died too :_(

    My Neighborns said me that last fryday at five o'clock in the morning fall a lightning on my building ( we sleep like a children & don't heard anything)... finally I found the answer to the strange dead of my screen ;-)and for my router (definitelly died)
    bye x now
    jm

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  17. What a glorious story, one of many tender ones that rose up from the remnants of the tsunami. The photos are so very good but one would expect nothing else from such a world-class photographer.

    It's hard to learn much about Peter Greste. But the last photos of his that I've seen were of the Sudan taken this last summer.

    You've tied together a wonderful post here Ginnie!

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  18. Thanks, PG! I'll have to look into more of his work.

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