Owen was a baby hippo, orphaned during the '05 Tsunami. They rescued him, and upon his arrival on the reserve he latched on to the 130-year-old Mzee. The subsequent relationship that developed got a lot of media coverage last year, and their story has made for a popular childrens book, and a movie deal.
These were Owen's rescue and first few days on the reserve.
In a month they became celebs.
And it seems sometime in April their relationship started getting more serious.
Like TAN, there are life lessons to be learned from Owen & Mzee. Here are five things I picked up in a quick sampling:
1. Tolerance, patience, perspective are key to a relationship surviving. In the beginning, Mzee seems crotchedy and very willing to snap and be nasty but Owen just sort of deals with it, and eventually Mzee shows his lighter side.
2. Overcoming sterotypes, odds, classification to be happy and live your life is always a good foundation for a story.
3. Hippos are territorial, and will chase and bite.
4. Hippos can almost double their weight and size in a day.
5. Friends can be replaced, at least temporarily, if they are similar in shape and size.
Their story really is remarkable, and even the most testosterone-addled of guys can appreciate this cute, adorable tale of love, friendship, and
Now my friend suggested that Owen was "The Assimilated Hippo" because there are other hippos on the reserve, but he just prefers to hang with the tortoises. Now TAN is about bridging cultures etc., but I wouldn't go so far as to say I ignore my own peeps. I definitely work both sides of the room, and luckily Deadspin has provided me with visual proof, here I am (3rd pic down) with a fellow Melanin Marinesman, holding the official drink of TANs everywhere, and sending a personal message to all those who are unaccepting of hippo-tortoise-black-white-love.
Come with an open mind, or don't come at all.
So says TAN. So says Owen & Mzee.
How To Make A Tortoipotamus [Lafarge Eco Systems]