Owen the hippo and Mzee the turtle hang out together.

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Following the devastating tsunami in December 2004 that killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions in Southeast Asia, people across the world opened their hearts and wallets to help.

The effects of the tsunami were felt in many coastal countries, and not just by humans.

When Owen, a wild baby hippopotamus, was washed away from his herd on the coast of Kenya, he was left orphaned. The following day, nearby villagers came to Owen's rescue, bringing him to a local wildlife park. There the search for a surrogate parent led little Owen to Mzee, a cranky 130-year-old giant tortoise. The frightened hippo adopted the old tortoise as his parent. It seemed like love at first sight as Mzee, who was a loner for years, instantly accepted the baby hippo as his own. The pair began eating together and sleeping side by side.

Today, more than two years later, Owen still follows Mzee around the park. Owen and Mzee have formed such a tight bond, workers at the park are worried that Owen is acting too much like a tortoise. They have brought in another hippo to teach Owen how to act a little more hippo-like.
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FROM: Valentine's Day Love Stories
Published on February 14, 2007

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