Owen + Mzee = true!

This is just too cute not to write about!

A picture of Owen and Mzee

A year after they first met, Owen, the baby hippo that survived last December’s Tsunami, and Mzee, a 130-year-old tortoise are still best pals. They live together at the Haller Park preserve in Mombasa, Kenya.

Read more in Tale of the tortoise and the hippo.


  • Yannick says:

    LOL Jeroen, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Very interesting though that they would end up being friends. πŸ™‚

  • Chad "Relieved says:


    When I saw this post in my RSS reader not one link from a snopes.com (myth buster-ish) post, I was afraid it was going to prove false.

    I was happy to find that this touching story is true!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jeroen, Yannick,

    Yes, isn't it just nice? πŸ™‚


    Ha ha, I checked it out too! πŸ™‚

  • arlene white says:

    so animals, including us, cross connecting are wonderful to experience notice celebrate

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, definitely.

  • peggy lubman says:

    i have been following this inspiring story of friendship with awe.

    i am now concerned to read that there is a plan to introduce owen to another hippo.

    i think it is wrong to separate these two animals until there is an indication from them that it is necessary.

    because this is such an isolated situation, there is no good example to call upon for what is appropriate and best for each of the animals.

    my instinct is that it would be best to wait until owen is atleast 4 years old as he seems to have transfered his need for his mother to mzee and even then it would be best to follow the lead of the animals themselves.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Thanks for your comment!

    I guess it's a hard call… While it might be good for Owen to meet and maybe live with another hippo, I don't think it should be at the cost of excluding Mzee from his life.

  • Kenny says:

    The first time I heard about this story is Jan 8 2005, when I was on the flight from Hong Kong to US. I read it from the newspaper, I cut this part and still keep it. I am a turtles/tortorises lover, I love to hear everything about this animal. This is a real touching story and make me smile everytime when I hear the update.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, I think we need nice stores like this to balance all the evil that's going on in the world.

  • craig says:


    glad you like the story– i am the author and it is good to hear comments like yours– remember: if these two can get along then anything is possible


  • bob says:

    i love this story and since i am doing research i just wanted 2 let you know that when Owen is introduceed to Cloe, his female hippo friend he will be allowed to see Mzee all he wants

    hope i put you at ease,


  • Robert Nyman says:


    It is indeed a great story! πŸ™‚


    That sounds great! πŸ™‚

  • Peter says:


    I'm the photographer who took the shots, and still very closely involved with Owen & Mzee. Alot of people are worried about introducing Owen to Cleo and don't like the idea of breaking upt the relationship with Mzee. As wonderful as it would be to keep them together, there are a couple of big problems. Firstly, like all young animals, Owen is learning alot from his guardian. In particular, he is copying Mzee's eating habbits. He seems to be doing pretty well, but nobody is sure what the long term effects might be of a hippo eating leaves like a tortoise, rather than the grass that makes up a hippo's normal diet. Secondly, as sweet as Owen is now, he won't stay that way. He'll eventually get to over three tonnes. These photos don't show it, but Mzee already bears the scars of another encounter with a fully grown hippo. A few years ago, another hippo friend rolled Mzee like a football and cracked his shell rather badly. There's no suggestion that Owen will do the same, but he could still inadvertently do a lot of damage. Although the risk is still relatively slight, the consequences of a wrong call would be disastrous. And like all difficult decisions, the longer they wait, the harder it will become. Of course if Owen and Cleo don't get along, or Owen seems too attached to Mzee, they'll rethink. But for the sake of all three (remember — Cleo has been alone for years too) it makes sense.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Very valid thoughts. Hopefully it all works out! πŸ™‚

  • justin says:

    hi the book is good i like wen owen and mzee was siting down it is good thaz

  • susan says:

    I heard there was a documentary screened at this year's Tribeca film festival and wondered if anyone had seen it yet? I'd love to see the both of them in action.

  • Jim says:

    Read more about Owen & Mzee at their blog:


    Join the Owen & Mzee Yahoo Group at:


    Publisher's website will launch soon:


  • Jim says:

    Here are links for the Owen & Mzee Movie trailer. I made the URLs tiny, so I hope it works:



  • peggy says:

    it has been several years since i have heard the results of separating owen ans mzee and introducing owen to another hippo.

    what happened? how is owen adjusting?

    how is mzee doing?

    i am anxious to know.


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