The person that came up with the expression 'opposites attract' was so right - After all, how else can you explain the unusual friendship and love between a 130-year old tortoise and a one-year old hippo. Welcome, to the amazing true story of Mzee and Owen, two animals that fate brought together in the beautiful coastal town of Mombasa, Kenya, a few years ago.
It all began in December 2004, shortly after a big Tsunami hit the coast of Indonesia, the repercussions of which, were felt all the way to Africa's East Coast. While the area did not suffer as badly, it did experience humongous Tsunami-like waves in what is usually a calm Indian Ocean, causing a family of hippopotamus to wash away off the coast of Malindi, a town that lies two hours north of Mombasa. The only survivor? A one-year-old baby hippo that managed to grab on to a reef. Fortunately, he was seen by the locals and hundreds of people joined in the rescue effort to brought it safely to shore.
Named Owen, in honor of the volunteer heading up the rescue effort, the baby was taken to a nearby animal sanctuary. Upon getting there, the terrified and exhausted hippo promptly rushed and hid behind a 130 year-old tortoise called Mzee, who just happened to be slowly crawling through the area. Though a little surprised, the sensitive tortoise seemed to sense that the young hippo was looking for comfort and responded immediately.
Since then, the two have been inseparable and are often seen spending their days together in the pond, feeding and playing with each other. And, while Owen has now been moved to a bigger water hole so that he can socialize with other hippos, it does not seem to have put a dent in their friendship.
We sure hope you have a special friend like Owen or Mzee in your life and that you tell him/her not just today, but everyday, how much you appreciate them!
Resources: wikipedia.org, owenandmzee.com
Happy Valentine's Day!