Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Hippo & The Tortoise, The Dog & The Calf

One year later, a 130-year-old tortoise is still caring for a baby hippo left orphaned by the tsunami in a Nairobi sanctuary.

The AP reports that the relationship between Owen, the hippo, and Mzee, the giant tortoise, has surprised conservation workers and made international headlines.

When massive waves stranded Owen and his family on a reef, fishermen rescued Owen and brought him to land, where he net Mzee and adopted him as a surrogate parent.

The tortoise, having his own problems, at first resisted. But Owen persisted, and within days, the two were inseparable.
(see below for pictures from back then.)

Conservation workers have a mom rhino all lined up for Owen, a 13-year old named Cleo. She's lived without hippo companionship for more than a decade, so Owen should be a sight for upside-down-T-shaped-eyes. A long, delicate process of moving the three animals together is planned, so they can grow to know each other's smell and gain trust. The same way Governor Schwarzenegger is introduced to new staffers.

Meanwhile, in another part of the world -- Maryville, TN, to be exact -- a black angus calf named Maggie, rejected by her mother, has been adopted by a childless Boxer mix named Vegas. The story has moved even the animals' owner, farmer Earl Best, according to WBIR.COM. "As soon as I brought her in, that dog went crazy wanting to be with the calf...If the calf is laying down, a lot of the time (the dog will) stand right over it or she will lay down on it like she's protecting it or keeping it warm."

Maggie was to end up as beef on the Bests's table, but they've decided to keep her as a pet. (Phew!) You can see video of Maggie & Vegas at the WBIR website.


gina said...

I'm such a pushover. I love stories like these.

Lisa said...

The best!!!!
This is the way I want to wake up every morning! If I can't be on the farm with them, I at least want to see their pictures.

peeky said...

I love those little critters.

Michael Markowitz said...

I know, I literally cannot get enough of this kind of stuff.

But I fear filling the blog with cute animal pictures might compromise my extremely virile reputation.