Time for a special edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide. Friday was a late night with some folks at a local watering hole after work. Saturday was the BeyondBroadcasting Conference complete with Birds of a Feather dinner. But tonight, Dolores and I had dinner together. A delightful conversation took place as we caught up on the other things that had occurred which we had not already shared. Amongst the listing of things, Dolores shared that she had just previewed a book she was going to use with her kindergarten friends on Monday to kick off Read Across America Week.
The book is a story of a baby hippo and a 130 old tortoise who have become friends. The hippo was stranded upon a coral reef after the 2006 tsunami struck the shores of Kenya. After a struggle to rescue the hippo, it was named Owen and moved to Lafarge Eco Systems in Mombasa, Kenya where an old limestone is being restored. There Owen was put into a sheltered space with other animals that were not going to be challenging to it in its youth. Owen, although only 1 year old when rescued, already weighed 600 pounds and fully grown would weight about 8,000 pounds. What surprised the naturalists managing Haller Park was how Mzee, a tortoise befriended Owen.
The story of Owen and Mzee became a NY Times bestseller. The book Dolores has is a sequel to the first which brings the story up to a few months ago. Owen has done well, continued to grow and live with Mzee who has continued to take care of him. They have developed their own communications. Yes, a tortoise and a hippo communicating with each other.
You can read more of this story on line. Owen and Mzee have their own blog. Well, sort of. The keepers write it for them. But you can monitor this fascinating tale of survival from the tsunami and a unique friendship that help in the survival.
If a tortoise and a hippo can be friends, what is stopping us?
A whole other aspect to this story that makes it note worthy is that of Isabella, who at age six first saw the pictures of Owen and Mzee and convinced her father that they needed to find out more about the two animals. What was originally an e-book (PDF), is now a best-seller and has spawned the sequel.
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Updated: An hour after this was posted, I received an email from Isabella's father with a link to a new Owen and Mzee web site just being introduced. I have already viewed the documentary and music video. I encourage you to continue to check out this developing story.