Owen & Mzee--An Unlikely PairingOut of tragedy, joy triumphs and from chaos springs a most unlikely pairing of a century old tortoise and a baby hippo.  They met shortly after the tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, 2004 and have been inseparable ever since.  

The hippopotamus's (nicknamed Owen) traumatic tale began when he was swept down the Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean and then forced back to shore when the tsnamic waves struck the Kenyan coast before wildlife rangers were able to rescue him on that fateful day.  Owen, less than a year old, lost his birth mother when the tsunami struck and found himself alone at a very tender age since Hippos are quite social and typically spend the first 4 years with their mother. 

The Hippo & The TortoiseDestiny intervened when he landed on a 130 year old tortoise named Mzee.  Nature took over and Mzee became "Mom" to Owen who, according to ecologist Paula Kahumbu, began following her around exactly the way a hippo would follow his mother.  "If somebody approaches Mzee, Owen becomes aggressive as if protecting his biological mother", Kahumbu added. 

Mom and son are teaching the world that while our differences are what makes each of us unique, they shouldn't be what keeps us apart.  Imagine how different our world would be if we would take to heart the story of Mzee and Owen by embracing what makes us different and walking the path together.

         JUDI MONDAY, CRS         


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