Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friends

Owen and Mzee are a hippopotamus and a tortoise, who have been talked, written, watched, read, and blogged about for a few years, now. It's all because of their friendship, which began when Owen, as a baby hippo became orphaned during the Indian Ocean earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004. Owen was rescued by a man named Owen, hence his name, and brought to Lafarge Eco Systems' Facility.

Owen was released into penned-in area with a pond AND a tortoise named Mzee (Swahili for "wise old man").

Owen immediately bonded to Mzee, who at first ignored Owen. Eventually, Mzee gradually got use to Owen. Soon they became friends.


In the first year, the two have become inseparable companions who eat, sleep, swim, and play together. They have surprised scientists with the strength of what appears to be a genuine bond, as well as a unique vocal communication that has developed between them.

Owen and Mzee have also become worldwide celebrities as a result of their astonishing behavior, captured on film and video primarily by BBC photographer Peter Greste. Two picture books, Owen and Mzee: The true story of a remarkable friendship and Owen & Mzee: Language Of Friendship, both published by Scholastic Press, and authored by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Paula Kahumbu were released in February 2006 and January 2007.

As of March 2007, Mzee was removed from the enclosure. A female hippopotamus named Cleo has been added to provide companionship for Owen. They have moved out of the tortoises' neighborhood and have their own place, now.

To me that means that Mzee did a good job of parenting. That's the job of a parent--to bring up healthy, happy and independent children.

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