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hippo instead; he constructed a ramp, with sand bags in the reservoir. On an early arrival the following morning, to Tonie's great delight, the hippo had climbed out of the reservoir during the night, ad his tracks led to the nearby Blyde River. Three weeks later the wild hippo's and the saved hippo turned up at our house, to visit Jessica. Early the next morning the wild hippos left, but the saved bull stayed, at the pool in front of our house. Tonie recognized the bull, by the marks on his left rump, as being the hippo he had saved three weeks earlier. We decided to call him Charlie. Charlie lived with us and Jess for 18 months. On the 2nd June 2005, Animal Planet arrived, to do an hour documentary, with Jessica and Charlie over an 18 month period. At the end of June Animal Planet left, and to our disappointment, Charlie disappeared, we never saw him again.

On the 3rd July 2005 Tonie brought me a photo of a hippo that was shot to my disbelief I realized by his marks, that it was Charlie. We were all in mourning, and shocked, he had become so tame and the protection he offered to Jess, he once saved her life, when she was attacked by a pregnant hippo cow, which was looking for a secluded spot to give birth, and it happened to be were Jessica was. But Charlie intervened and protected Jess. Jessica on the other hand was heart broken, crushed, she was wounded inwardly. She had lost her first love. Jessica lives wild with neighboring wild hippos, the often come and visit her at night and leave early morning. She is quite fearless of them. Jessica has three boyfriends, but her favorite is called Fred, he has the most engaging character. Jessica and Fred often go grazing together, and wonder off on a little exploration of their own. Fred is a very handsome bull, but although he seems very friendly, Jessica is always suddenly overcome by shyness.

Jessica appeared on several SABC programmes for example Kwela, Carte Blanche and SABC news; we have also had radio interviews with RSG. She also appeared on SKY news and BBC news. Jessica appeared on National Geographic three times and on the 14th February 2006, in the documentary called "The Dark Side of Hippos". She appeared on Discovery Channel once in the programmed called "Ten Most Deadliest", five times on South Korea TV, twice on Japanese TV - where she made a little boys dream come true, and that was to brush a hippos teeth. German Television ZDF. Brilliant Creatures did a full coverage of Jess
on her third birthday, and many newspapers world wide. We had live interviews on Radio Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. Animal Planet documentary was first broadcast in the U K on the 28/06/2007, now traveling all over the world, its called "Jessica the Hippo". Jessica is the most famous and loved animal in the world. Jessica still lives with wild hippos and always comes home for her treat; she is always affectionate when she sees us. Jessica hates being left on her own, when we go somewhere for a weekend, on our return we observe that she is terribly hungry and had obviously not eaten since the last time we saw her. After we give her a meal, and lots of love, she would fall sound asleep. She is always overjoyed to see us.

On the 30/06/2007 Jessica became ill for the first time. We called the vet out, and sent dung samples to the lab for further testing. We treated her with antibiotics orally, for 3 days. We got back the lab results, and to our disappointment the antibiotics were resistant to the bacteria infecting her. So we had to start a new antibiotic treatment, with intramuscular injections. By hand the needles bent, due to the thickness of her skin - then the worst part came - we had no other choice but to dart her. We told the vet that when he darts her, we didn't want to watch, for if she saw us she would associated us with pain. I could not help but to feel that we were not deserting her, but we had no choice, it had to be done. I bet asked herself what kind of strangeness was this? She seemed frightened. I felt a tight note of fear deep inside.

Jessica was so traumatized after the first dart that she just collapsed and lay still, she looked so insecure. When Jessica stopped eating, Tonie and I wrestled with our situation; on bended knees we prayed and asked everyone to pray for Jessica. She was the greatest gift given to us by God. Jess was week and we paid her short visits at frequent intervals, we would kiss and encourage her to react positively to the treatment. When she was at her worst, we brought her into the house where we could observe her. After the 5th day of the new treatment, to our relief Jess got better, and started eating again. We were the happiest most content people in the whole world. Jessica was her old self again, she always enjoys life to the fullest, Tonie and myself were filled with joy, as a result that we know that only God had healed her.

And we would love to thank the people, all over the world that prayed for her.
The year 2000 kicked off with devastating floods in Mozambique and South Africa and the image that one remembers is the miracle rescue of the mother who gave birth to her baby daughter in a tree in Mozambique. While that human drama was unfolding, another mother in a river further south lost her daughter, as the floods swept her downstream. In the North Eastern Transvaal (now Limpopo Province) of South Africa, close to the world famous Kruger National Park, are two major river systems. The Olifants River flows through the Kruger National Park and into Mozambique. The Blyde River (near Hoedspruit) joins the Olifants about fourteen kilometers downstream, from where a baby Hippo daughter - Jessica was found on the banks of the Blyde River.

During the floods on the 11 March 2000, Tonie and Shirley Joubert went for a walk. he chill of the early day retired before the warmth of the hot sun, they heard a crunching sound, and Shirley's eye fortunately caught a movement, where the lawn meets the water. We stood on the banks of the river, at first it looked like a picture coming into focus, then I suddenly observed that the scene I was gazing on was very different to what I had anticipated - a small hippo calf. Tonie and myself walked down to the calf, the hippo calf tried to get up, but was terribly tired and to weak. The calf had no energy. Realizing that she needed help, Tonie picked her up and observed that she was only a few hours old, she still had the umbilical cord attached to her. It must have had a disastrous effect on her nerves, for she was much traumatized. The calf needed milk urgently, being so small, we could not feed her normal milk, but fortunately, with Tonie's experience and knowledge as a game ranger, he had a formula to create a substitute similar to colestrum. With cool determination, for a few minutes we prepared the formula which consisted of egg yolk, cream and full cream cow's milk. Tonie had used this formula many times in the past with wonderful success. We decided to call her Jessica
and then carefully weighed and measured her. At 16 kg's and 30 cm tall at the shoulder, it certainly was the smallest hippo we had ever seen. She was undamaged and intact. Over a 24 hour period she had to consume 10% of her body mass in milk = 1.6 liters. Being badly emancipated and weak she took to the teat of the bottle greedily, and much to our surprise, found out how delicious the milk formula was, and she could hardly get enough of it. Jessica followed us very persistently, she woke us when she was hungry and we fed her from a tiny bottle. Which pleased me even more was that Jessica soon became friends with the dogs, Za Za the Rodweiller and the Bull terriers, they were always together, and watched anything unusual with great concentration. Jessica never fell ill, and grew in leaps and bounds. She grew from strength to strength. She created an abundance of happiness by attracting her friends, the dogs, and received warmth and affection for all of them. She established a strong bond with the dogs. Hippos are social animals that like to stay close to their mothers for four years. Jessica's chances of survival in the wild were very slim, and we realized that we were now her parents. It was, therefore far more merciful to finish the affair that we started, than to just let it be, much to our pleasure and relief.

Jessica is so gentle; she is a tremendous boost for our physical and mental wellbeing. She is genuinely kind. Although she has phenomenal strength in her jaw, she has never shown any signs of aggression. Jessica is the most wonderful precious thing, she is so unique and special, and needs to be appreciated. In April 2001, Jessica became a movie star, at the age of 1 1/2, she was already world famous, when she played a role in a South African movie "Mr. Bones" with actor Leon Schuster, Jessica is a born actress, since the movie Jessica was broadcast all over the world. As Honory Game Ranger, Tonie was asked on the 21/02/2004 to shoot a hippo that fell into a concrete reservoir. Tonie tried to save the