Seun's Story

People often say history repeats itself, but nobody expected what happened on January 18th, 2012. After similar weather conditions (a heavy storm and a flash flood) another hippo washed up at their doorstep of Tonie. This one was even smaller than Jessica, when she was found. It still had its umbilical cord attached! So it couldn’t have been more than a few hours old! The mother was nowhere to be found so Oom Tonie decided to save this hippo as well, and named it Seun.

Seun’s situation, however, is vastly different from Jessica’s. As Seun is a male, he cannot be released at night. Male hippos come to visit Jessica now and then Tonie has counted six different individuals around his home so far. Seun is in essence a young male that’s not protected by his mother, and if one of these males would find him, they would kill him immediately. That is unfortunately how territorial hippos behave.

Oom Tonie decided to keep Seun in an enclosure, as to keep him safe at night. His plan is to have Seun bond with Jessica. The reason for that is simple; if Jessica and Seun bond, then Jessica will act as a mother for Seun, and will protect him from any territorial bull that comes to pay them a visit. Of course, this is not easy. It’s a process that takes time and needs supervision as well.
What doesn’t make it easier is that Seun is in an enclosure (often laying in his little pool) while Jessica is in the water for most of the day. Progress is slow but it is progress nonetheless! As we write this, six years down the line, Seun has become a strong young boy, and he and Jessica have become good friends. He engages with Jessica when she comes out of the river and soon he will be released at night to live free with Jessica.

Even though Jessica has accepted Seun and they now are behaving just like mother and child, Oom Tonie does not want to rush the process. When Seun will be released at night, he will basically be free to go wherever he wants, but Oom Tonie wants Seun to understand that at this age he needs Jessica for protection and that it is in his best interest to stay with her until he is older.

Visitors that come to see Jessica will also see Seun. His enclosure is right next to the pathway that takes you down to Jessica’s home. Seun’s a young, playful, and curious young boy that likes to interact with people. He’s also equally friendly as Jessica. Currently, he’s stealing everybody’s heart, just like Jessica tends to do.