3/1/07

Why the "Malagasy Dwarf Hippo" ? Blame my dad ;)

I received this email yesterday:
"Bonjour,
Je suis arrivé sur ce blog un peu par hasard et je ne comprends pas vraiment le pourquoi du titre. A ma connaissance, il n’existe pas d’ hippopotame à Madagascar mais je me trompe peut-être....
Amicalement,
Ben"

translation:
Hello,
I somehow landed on this blog and I am not quite sure I understand the title of your blog. To my knowledge, there are no Hippos in Madagascar but I might be wrong...
Cheers,
Ben.

Ben, you are correct. There are no hippos anymore in Madagascar but years ago, there were indeed hippos, dwarf hippos actually. And judging by the number of searches for "Malagasy Hippo", "dwarf hippo" and "Malagasy dwarf (?)" that ends up here, I think it is about time I explained the "home of the Malagasy dwarf hippo" thing (I assume they were not really looking for this blog)
It all started when I was searching for the list of current endangered species because of human activities. This comprehensive website extinctanimal.com gives a list of all endangered or extinct animals. In the extinct mammals section, you can find the "Madagascan pygmy hippopotamus; common name: Malagasy dwarf hippo." But wait, this is not a conservation blog, is it ?
Well, there are 3 reasons why I picked the Malagasy dwarf hippo as the saint patron of this blog: 1st) well, I am a sucker for lost causes, underdog stories, etc..a bit lame but what is more "lost cause" than an extinct species ? 2nd)He had to be Malagasy. (As the kids woud say: Duh!) 3rd) An tiny anecdote from my dad.


My dad used to work at the National Hospital of Niger in Niamey. During his stay in Niger, he had the chance to travel the Niger River on those tiny pirogue boat to watch the wildlife. While cruising along, the guide told him that they would have to be very quiet for a while because of th hippos. My dad (like me) always pictured hippos as those harmless huge mammals who would not hurt a fly. Quite the contrary, the guide said. "hippos have a temper and when they are unhappy, they go after boats , knock them over and drown people." My dad is not easily impressionable, 15 years working in the Emergency Room would probably do that to you. However, one morning in St-Martin (where he lives now), he looked a little tired so my sister asked him what was wrong. "Bad dreams" he said. We assumed it was because of the huge car crash that they had to deal with 2 days before. "Nope" he said, " I dreamt that a hippo was running after me the whole night; it would not stop and his mouth was wide open the whole time. I am totally exhausted." My sister was speechless first and then started laughing uncontrollably for 10 min non-stop, realizing that her dad was scared of hippos. It was one of the best laughs we had in years, seriously, how can one be afraid of this:

(I mean the hippo, I am a bit afraid of turtles myself)
So there you have it, this blog is the home of the "Malagasy Dwarf Hippo" because I want to "pay homage" to nature's lost treasures, my homeland and above all my dad and his unreasonable fear of hippos.
So Ben, there were dwarf hippos in Madagascar before but there aren't anymore. I will always be a bit sadden by the fact that I will never see my dad run away from a tiny little dwarf hippo.

19 comments:

  1. "Lalomena" is the dwarf hippo's Malagasy name ;) Thanx for the explanation on confidence mode, Manja e :D

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  2. >Tomavana,
    Merci pour la precision :). Je me souviens vaguement d'un "lalomena" avec de grandes cornes dans ce que je croyais etre un conte pour enfant mais ce n'etait donc pas un conte :).Je n'avais pas fait la relation du tout :D.

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  3. ha ha ha ha ha that's hilarious! wonder if there was a malagasy dwarf dinosaur.

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  4. >Mosi,
    Guess what ? There is a Malagasy dinosaur :D ! That was a set-up wasn't it ? :) Check this out:
    "On August 5th, 1995 a 32 kg coelacanth was caught in a net set at a depth of 140-150 m off the village of Anakao’ about 30 km south of Toliara (Tule’ar) on the southwest coast of Madagascar."
    The coelacanth is that prehistoric fish:"a large marine lobe-finned fish belonging to the Order Coelacanthiformes, a group of primitive bony fishes."

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  5. Nice post, en plus je voulais te poser la question mais je n'ai jamais osé jusque là. Je ne savais pas du tout qu'on avais des rhinos à Madagascar. Confidence pour confidence, moi je croyais que tu faisais allusion à la taille des malgaches :D c'est vrai. Les malgaches sont connu pour être de petite taille ref=Rabaraona, et nous quand on était gosse on avais l'habitude de dire: "popotam kely" quand il s'agissait de parler d'une personne pas assez grand de taille, d'une façon kindly bien sûr :) mais je te jure que j'en connais beaucoup qui le dit :D c'est vraiment un post utile pour nous: "Rakoto rant's" addicted readers. En plus, en ce moment ou je n'arrive pas a trouver un nom pour mon blog:( Je t'avoue que je me tracasse la tête pour le baptiser "quelque chose" mais je n'ai pas encore trouver d'ou le petit "beta". j'ai vraiment du mal a trouver un nom qui a un sens en fait, mais tu viens de me donner l'idée d'un post que je publierai très prochainement.

    merci pour l'inspiration

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  6. >Hjk,
    J'oserai pas pour le "popotamkely" :) .Nous on disait "potapota" :).
    Perso, j'aime bien "Njaka Jiaby". Au fait j'ai du mal a rentrer sur ton blog. Ca montre error 505...

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  7. je sais que ce n'est pas ce que tu pense, et c'est pour ça que je me suis retenu de te le demander avant, je m'excuse de l'avoir penser et de l'avoir mentionner aussi fort, et je m'excuse auprès de tes lecteurs aussi.

    OT. pour mon blog c'est parce qu'hier soir j'ai essayé de mettre en ligne des vieux posts qui avaient des problèmes de code html et ça m'a tout foutu le truc en l'air, je pense qu'en nettoyant tes cookies firefox ça devrai marcher :( sorry about that !!!

    D'ailleurs, j'ai retrouvé un article que j'ai écris sur Xhi sy M'aa . J'ai vu qu'il n'avais pas encore de lien dans ta liste des 100 malagasy, si ça peu te rendre utile pour le lien.

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  8. Tu as raison, j'ai un vrai problème de serveur :( ça m'a fané, I'm out.
    Je te souhaite un bon week-end !!

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  9. Hey Hjk,
    Ca marche nickel maintenant :). Merci pour le post. je vais le rajouter de suite :).
    Bon week-end a toi,

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  10. Ahahaha LOL that was a funny story I enjoyed reading it. Me too, I have always wanted to ask you the same question on why the dwarf hippo title lol but never dared to ;-) Ohhhh so it is the Lalomena wow LOL I never though Lalomenas are dwarf hippos ahahaha...and yes they did exist then because I used to read anganon'ny Ntaolo (i dont know if you know this book, it is a book with all those very famous malagasy angano hihihi like Kotobekibo sy Ifaramalemy and etc) and this Lalomena is mentioned very very often in the "angano" for instance a prince want to impress his bride or his in laws he has to get some lalomena ahahaha to show off in the village...Anyway thank you for the post :-)

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  11. oh I forgot, I used the expression popotamkely too ;-)

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  12. hey there Mirana,
    Thank you :). I only learnt about "anganon'ny Ntaolo" when I read Sipakv and Harinjaka's posts on those stories. I always thought that lalomena was some terrifying monster as well :).

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  13. Tattum5:46 PM

    Excellent, so funny! Les mails des lecteurs réservent des surprises et des rires parfois.. Mais c'est un plaisir.
    J'ai vu que tu as fait mention du coelacanthe. J'ai écrit un post là-dessus, et on continue à en pêcher de temps à autre. A ma connaissance, il existe deux spécimens exposés:un à la fac à Ankatso et l'autre à Toliara.

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  14. Coucou Tattum,

    Je me demande a combien on evalue le nombre de Coelacanthe restant... ca serait dommage...

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  15. Anonymous5:16 AM

    oui quand on faisiat de la biologie genrale, nptre prof parlait du coelacanthe comme l'ancetre des premiers mammiferes...tres fiere a l'epoqie de savoir qu'on ne le trouvait qu'a Mada...demandes a ton napiste

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  16. Vous aviez le meme prof de bio generale ? C'etait a Ankatso ou au Jules Ferry ?

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  17. That's a priceless story Lova...hahahaha. Your dad is too cute to have fessed up to his fear. Your blog is going to remind me of that cute hippo pic from now on :)

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  18. hey Amrita,
    My dad doesn't read anything I post in english so if you meet him ;), don't tell him I let out the secret :D.
    I was looking for the dancing hippo but I can't find it :D.

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  19. My lips are sealed! ;)
    Hope you find the pic of the Dancing hippo...hahah!

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