The tortoise and the hippo

I think it’s interesting when things happen that we struggle to explain. Regardless of your world views, religious views, or political views, this is one of those stories that defies explanation.

Heavy rains had washed a family of hippos down the river and into the ocean off the coast of Africa. Residents tried in vain to get the hippos to move back up the estuary. When the Tsunami hit, only one hippo survived: a one-year-old, stranded on the reef, who later became known as Owen.

After his rescue from the sea, Owen was taken to Lafarge Eco Systems. When he was released in Haller Park, Owen immediately ran to the safety of a 130-year-old giant tortoise named Mzee. Mzee quickly came to terms with his new friend and even returned signs of affection. And they remain close, despite the fact that Owen is rapidly growing into a thousand-pound adult hippo.

A one-year-old mammal taking comfort with a 130-year-old reptile, and both of them respond in kind. Amazing.

For the complete story, and to see more amazing photographs, download the Owen & Mzee Story.

For additional information, see the LaFarge Eco Systems blog.

Wish someone was doing more to prevent crime?

In Surrey, British Columbia, the Integrated Municipal Provincal Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) consists of twenty-two specialized police auto theft investigators from seven police forces in the Greater Vancouver Area. The team was created to develop innovative strategies to reduce car crine in British Columbia. They’re currently working on four major initiatives: the Bait Car program, Automated Licence Plate Recognition, the stolen vehicle Enforcement Team and Stolen Vehicle Identification.

Of these, perhaps the most dramatic is the Bait Car. A bait car is a vehicle owned by the police and is intended to be stolen. (While they started with cars, they’ve since expanded to motorcycles, ATV’s, snowmobiles, and watercraft.) After a bait car is stolen, the location, speed, and direction of travel of the vehicle is monitored by police dispatchers at EComm through GPS tracking. Everything that takes place inside the bait car is caught on audio and video. The dispatcher will coordinate a police response and once officers are in position behind the bait car, the engine will be disabled at the click of a mouse button which allows for the quick arrest of the car thieves.

They have posted several videos on their web site, including some very disturbing images of thieves operating under the influence of crystal meth. Every video posted will make you glad that programs like this are underway.

[See Bait Car Videos]