An amazing true story of how a hippo rescued two impalas

An image of a hippo in the water.

Hippopotamus to the Rescue!

WEIGHING up to four tons, the hippopotamus is the second largest living land mammal. Its powerful jaws can break apart a canoe in a single bite.

Thus, a group of men at Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, were quite surprised when they saw a hippo behave in a way that struck them as out of character—to say the least.

The men, while near a dam, saw two impalas being hotly pursued by nine wild dogs.

Finding no escape route, the impalas plunged into the water.

The dogs trotted along the edge of the water, anticipating where the impalas would likely emerge.

Eventually, one exhausted impala began swimming for a far shore, without realizing that the dogs were there waiting.

As the impala neared land, however, the men saw a nearby hippopotamus swimming toward the impala.

Upon reaching it, reports the magazine African Wildlife, the hippo “turned it around and compelled it with a gentle nudge to swim in the opposite direction.”

The impala obeyed.

The hippo followed, giving an occasional nudge when the impala showed signs of unsteadiness.

As the impala reached the water’s edge, the men watched the hippo gently but firmly propel the impala ashore.

The impala took a few faltering steps, then stopped and stood shivering.

Soon, the impala began walking away from the water.

The hippo followed until both disappeared from view.

What happened to the other impala?

The men report that the wild dogs “had been so engrossed in watching the rescue that the other impala had escaped unnoticed.”