Neither the distance between them on a taxonomic chart, nor a potentially
eye-raising age difference, mattered to Owen and Mzee. The baby hippo and
the 130-year-old tortoise became close friends when Owen, orphaned after the
2004 tsunami, was taken to Haller Park, an animal sanctuary in Mombasa,
Kenya, that was already home to Mzee ("Old Man" in Swahili). They've spawned
children's books, a website and a blog, as well as YouTube animations.
Eventually, the growing Owen was introduced to Cleo — another hippopotamus.
When, according to a 2007 blog post, Cleo hurt another tortoise, the two
pals were separated. Many fans were disappointed. As "3rd grade speech boys"
commented on the blog, "We wish Cleo would be nice and they could all live
together and create a new generation of hippos and turtles."