My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise

I received this email from a friend today and thought it appropriate to share, given what is...or is not ....happening in Copenhagen

The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise

'Much of life can never be explained, only witnessed.'
- Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

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, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.

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.

'Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.'

This is a real story that shows that our differences don't matter much when we need the comfort of another.

The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.

Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous


  1. Oh Wendy, what a wonderful story. I just love the look on that hippo's face when he looks at his mother. Life is strange sometimes, isn't it?? And beautiful.

  2. I'm really glad you posted this beautiful story on your blog. This is the sort of thing that matters greatly to many and is nourishing and nurturing of the human soul and spirit. You may be interested to learn that I have an orphan young ram in my garden temporarily as he was being bullied and sent off to be destroyed. One of my cats has taken to him!

  3. Love this post, shows how one cannot survive without a conection to another for comfort. We all can learn much from this post....:-) Hugs

  4. liZZie... That was a wonderful thing for you to do...taking on that Ram. I have rescued dogs and birds... Never a ram.

  5. That is AWESOME!! You can see real love and contentment in both of their faces. Fantastic story!