This is one of those amazing story that makes you love the animal world and that so many times I've written about in SeaWayBLOG.
This story is set in the Mara River, a river in Africa, flowing through Kenya and Tanzania, that lies across the migration path of ungulates in the Serengeti/Masai Mara game reserves:
all pictures ©Michael Yule
The protagonist is a Hippo and a very helpful one! so helpful that we might nickname it "The good samaritan hippo"...
Everything starts with some visitors to a safari camp called Lamala Mara witnessing the annual wildebeest migration. As you may know this kind of migrations aren't exactly a constitutional walk... it's a really tough journey full of dangers and when the animals have to cross the rivers these dangers get to the highest level, especially for calves, crocodiles are lurking under the surface trying to get the most from this rare abundance of preys, and the current is stong enough to sweep away the youngest wildebeests.
But here our hero comes into action!
The visitors were astonished to see a hippo come to the rescue of two drowning stragglers.
The strong current separated a wildebeest, or gnu, from her calf and she watched helplessly as it was swept away. To everyone’s amazement the hippo came to the gnu’s rescue and pushed it gently to the river bank:
And this is not enough.
Within ten minutes she spotted a little zebra crossing the same stretch of water and pushed it across, its tiny head struggling to keep above the torrent:
That's it, a hippo, with nothing in return and even to push the calves (being at the same time a wonderful bodyguard against crocodiles aattacks) helping them to reach safely the bank of the river just as they were its own offspring.
Nothing moves me more than when I see "love" being so strong it can even surpass species boundaries, and it's not even the first time I heard a story like this one about hippos, there's another one that I will probably post tomorrow that show how, despite their bad repution (being the world's deadliest animal in terms of men killed, more than crocs and much more than sharks for example) hippos seem to have a sort of feeling of empathy towards other animals' suffering.