Discovered by wildlife rangers near certain death in the Indian Ocean off Malindi, the one year old male hippo calf named Owen was placed on 27 December 2004 in Haller Park, a wildlife sanctuary near Mombassa, Kenya.
As soon as he was placed in his enclosure, the orphaned younster immediately ran to the giant toroise named Mzee (Swahili for 'old man") also kept in that space. Mzee is estimated to be between 100 and 130 years old.
Mzee was not immediately taken with Owen, he turned and hissed forcing Owen to back away.
But Owen persisted in following the tortoise around the park and into the pool and within days the unlikely pair had forged a friendship, eating and sleeping together. Owen has even been seen to lick the tortoise, whom he regards as his new mother.
Wildlife workers speculate that Owen may have been attracted to Mzee as a parental figure because the tortoise's shape and color are similar to an adult hippopotamus.