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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Unlikely pair

Thanks to Garrison for this interesting article!

Tsunami Survivors NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived thetsunami 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 ofMombassa, officials said.

The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forcedback 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 maletortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge ofLafarge Park , told AFP.

"After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It hadto look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleeptogether," the ecologist added. "The hippo follows the tortoise exactlythe way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother,"Kahumbu added.

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