Author Topic: Owen & Mzee - an unusual friendship  (Read 1600 times)

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Offline LadyM

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Owen & Mzee - an unusual friendship
« on: February 02, 2006, 07:06:56 am »
I saw this story yesterday on the news and it really touched me. After the tsunumi an orphaned baby hippo was rescused and taken to a wildlife sanctuary. He immediately got attached to a giant tortoise who is over 100 years old, who was a loner and wanted nothing to do with him at first. By the next morning, they were the best of friends. They eat together, play together and sleep together. There is now a book coming about about their story. I found it so interesting because not only is there an age difference but there is a speices difference and neither one cares, they just enjoy each other. It's that simple.

<-- Amazon book, click photo for more info  <- click for updated story

Quote from: book photographer Peter Greste

But when I returned to check up on Owen a few days later for some more shots, I began to realize that the tiny mammal snuggling up to the centenarian reptile, was at the beginnings of a truly remarkable and captivating relationship. Watching the friendship develop has been a privilege of course, but it has also forced a rethink about what it all means.

Some scientists insist that we cannot and should not apply human emotions to our animal cousins. They argue that we have no way of knowing what is really going on in the minds of these two creatures. We should therefore not presume they are feeling anything remotely the way we do about our friends and family.

But seeing the bond grow between these individuals from two entirely different species and two entirely different ages, it has been hard to see it as anything other than a genuine love and affection. As with humans, it seems to be the little gestures that give it away.

Perhaps that is what makes the story Owen and Mzee so powerful; the fact that it is so unexpected. After all, every animal behavior expert we’ve spoken to is at loss to explain it. Herpetologists tell us reptiles are purely creatures of instinct that could never respond to a mammal, however affectionate they may be. Yet Mzee seems undeniably happy to have Owen around.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2006, 07:26:50 am by LadyM »