Published on the 5th of July, 2017
It is with great sadness that we must share the news that we have lost our beloved hippo, Humpty.
She was treated by Kenya Wildlife Service Veterinary Officer Dr. Poghon but later died quite unexpectedly. Sadly, however, an autopsy revealed that little could have saved Humpty as she had a completely twisted gut, the reasons for which remain a mystery. She was actually running and playing in her pond the evening before her death, and the only sign of something being amiss was the fact that her rear end was floating more than usual, preventing her from diving deep into her pool. There was little evidence of any discomfort. Twisted guts can occur in many animals, in horses and even elephants, with orphan elephant Sokotei’s mother dying in the wild from the very same condition, and it is never entirely clear what causes this.
In Humpty’s case, it might well have been the new rich green vegetation abundant after the rains. While Humpty enjoyed the odd pool frolic, she generally led a sedate life, resting much of the day on her beloved mattress or on the soft river sand floor of her hut situated next to her pool, surrounded by her adoring human family and four legged friends.
Humpty was a revelation and having the privilege of knowing her intimately was truly special for she taught us so much. She was extremely clever, observant and aware of absolutely everything happening around her at all times, with a strong bond towards those she loved, both two legged and four; she was also stubborn, and could not be easily coerced into doing anything she didn’t feel like doing! She had settled so well into the blissful environment which was her new home, and was visited in the night by wild hippos coming up to Kaluku from the Athi River just a kilometer or two away. They appeared quite accepting of her presence, with their footprints evident on her beach in the early mornings.
She brightened so many lives, and it seems so unfair that fate should rob little Humpty of such a bright future. This sudden loss has left not just those involved in her rescue and care devastated, but many thousands around the world who have been so touched by her remarkable story and charmingly unique and quirky ways. The only comfort we draw is in the knowledge that her short life could not have been a happier one, and this was evident for all to see as Humpty ruled our Kaluku headquarters.