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August 21st, 2005
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August 9th, 2005
squeakydahmer @ : One of oldest hippos turns 54, stays on diet
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Let them eat cake. At least this party's guest of honor seemed content with sticking to her diet. Hundreds of visitors enjoyed birthday cake Saturday at the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden while Donna the hippo ate frozen fruit to celebrate the 3,500-pound animal's 54th birthday.
Zoo keeper John W. Stuteville said Donna is considered one of the world's oldest living Nile hippos. She has already outlived her mate and all eight of their offspring.
Stuteville said that in the wild, hippos usually live to be only 30 to 45 years old.
Arthritis, which afflicts Donna, usually brings them down because they carry too much weight on their short stubby legs and knees.
Stuteville attributes Donna's longevity to the care she has received at the zoo and to her surroundings, including inclines she must climb out of her enclosure's pools - a design that keeps her active.
Mesker obtained Donna from a zoo in Memphis in 1954, three years after she was born. Stuteville greets the hippo each morning with a variety of food that usually includes two oranges, a tomato, a sweet potato, an apple and two bananas.
"I have a banana also, and usually give her half of it," he said.
May 22nd, 2005
April 23rd, 2005
April 11th, 2005
January 25th, 2005
sisiphus @ : You will pay for hippopotamus at court!
Romanian girl has brought an action against her might-have-been boyfriend because the latter called her a hippopotamus. The girl and the young man met with the help of an agency for matching couples. The problem is that the girl lied about her actual weight when she sent a letter of acquaintance to a man. This became a reason for the whole of the story.
Relations between Nikoleta Popesku and Gabriel Malinesku started very romantically. They found each other through a notice in a newspaper and began sending letters and making calls to each other. The romantic story lasted for two months, over the whole period the man believed that his girlfriend was young, slender, beautiful, kind and merry. Nikoleta lied that her weight was 50,5 kg, and Gabriel had no reasons at all to mistrust her words. Finally, after the two months of romantic friendship the couple decided to date.
When the young man saw his darling, his heart nearly broke. Contrary to his expectations, the girl was rather stout, with the weight making approximately a centner. The man was so much discouraged at that moment that he impulsively called the girl a she-hippopotamus because of her grand weight. The insulting was rather unexpected for Nikoleta who really believed that her weight would cause no problems for romantic friendship with the man. The insulted girl decided to obtain justice with the help of the law. Nikoleta Popesku has brought an action against Gabriel Malinesku on compensation of moral damage caused by the hippopotamus insulting. The girl said: "I have been so much injured. He is probably ignorant of the fact that beauty on the whole does not mean external beauty only."
January 14th, 2005
sisiphus @ : ...
Giant tortoise adopts baby hippo
NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) -- A 120-year-old giant tortoise living in a Kenyan sanctuary has become inseparable from a baby hippo rescued by game wardens, officials said on Thursday.
The year-old hippo calf christened Owen was rescued last month, suffering from dehydration after being separated from his herd in a river that drains into the Indian Ocean.
"When we released Owen into the enclosure, he lumbered to the tortoise which has a dark grey color similar to grown up hippos," Sabine Baer, rehabilitation and ecosystems manager at the park, told Reuters.
She said the hippo's chances of survival in another herd were very slim, predicting that a dominant male would have killed him.
However, Owen's relationship with the Aldabran tortoise named Mzee, Swahili for old man, may end soon. The sanctuary plans to place Owen with Cleo, a lonely female hippo.
Odd couple make friends in Kenya
A baby hippo rescued after floods in Kenya last week has befriended a 100-year-old tortoise in Kenya. The one-year-old hippo calf christened Owen was found alone and dehydrated by wildlife rangers near the Indian Ocean.
He was placed in an enclosure at a wildlife sanctuary in the coastal city of Mombasa and befriended a male tortoise of a similar colour.
According to a park official, they sleep together, eat together and "have become inseparable".
"Since Owen arrived on the 27 December, the tortoise behaves like a mother to it," Haller Park tourism manager Pauline Kimoti told the BBC News website.
"The hippo follows the tortoise around and licks his face," she said.
The tortoise is named Mzee, which is Swahili for old man.
Ms Kimoti said that if the 300kg hippo continued to thrive then in the next few weeks they would allow the public to see the unlikely pair together before they are separated.
The sanctuary, which is on the site of a former cement factory, plans eventually to get the help of the Kenya Wildlife Service to place Owen with Cleo, a lonely female hippo in a separate enclosure.
This is the latest in a series of unusual bondings in the wild that have surprised and delighted zoologists in Kenya.
In 2002, a lioness at Samburu National Park adopted a succession of baby oryx.
December 8th, 2004
sisiphus @ : ...
Hippo eats dwarf
A HIPPOPOTAMUS has swallowed a dwarf in a circus accident in northern Thailand.
"A dwarf, nicknamed Od, died when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a yawning hippopotamus, which was waiting to appear in the next act," the Pattaya Mail reported.
"Vets on the scene said Hilda the Hippo had a gag reflec that automatically caused her to swallow."
The vets said it was the first time the hefty vegetarian had ever eaten a circus performer.
"Unfortuntealy, the 1000-plus spectators continued to applaud wildly until commonsense dietated there had been a tragic mistake.
"Police said the trampoline had been sent for forensic analysis."
November 12th, 2004
sisiphus @ : ...
From National Geographic, November 2004:
Hippo Skin Care -- No Sweat
Because hippopotamuses ooze a reddish fluid from their skin, ancient Greeks are said to have believed they sweated blood. Now Japanese researchers have found that the hippo secretions are therapeutic.
Not actually sweat, a hippo's glandular skin fluid contains two pigments, one red, one orange. Kimiko Hashimoto, a chemist at Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, and colleagues analyzed skin liquid from hippos at Tokyo's Ueno Zoological Gardens. She says both the red and the orange pigments may act as sunscreens. Hippos spend a lot of time in the sun and secrete the fluid even when submerged. The pigments also seem to have antibiotic properties, perhaps to help heal wounds incurred during frequent fights. Hashimoto hopes that new medicines might be developed "using these pigments as starting compounds."