ISBN  9780143539056

Published  - May 2014 

Author - Karen Paolillo 

Genre – Non -Fiction 

My Rating: 4/5 

'In 1992, when her geologist husband was sent to a remote bush camp in Zimbabwe at a time of severe drought, Karen Paolilo stepped in to save the lives of a group of hippos who were going to die. With help from the British animal charity Care for the Wild International, she raised over 26 000 pounds to feed them and give them their own artificial water source as their habitat, the Turgwe River, had completely dried up.

The husband and wife team, with their Hippo friends, have been through natural disasters such as floods, land invasions and having their lives threatened by guns, mobs and violence. The area they now live in with the hippos is called the Save Valley Conservancy. Since Karen’s intervention and the formation of the Turgwe Hippo Trust, the hippos have prospered, but not without severe stress and pressures upon her and her husband.

This is the story of her life, of how an English girl came to womanhood and found her dream, a dream that has at times been harder than one could ever have imagined.'
This book tells of a fabulous hippo family , characters that become near and dear to your heart whilst reading this book. Hippos such as Bob the dominant male who accpets a white woman into her territory and in his own way ingratiates her and her sponsors with his funny antics and peculiar ways. 
Facing the likes of Blackface the senior female hippo and learning to be sensitive to her and their behaviours, territory and  personalities... a challenge Karen Paolillo embraces wholeheartedly.

It is a tale of building relationship with animals , of celebration and overcoming , of huge loss and the incredibly destructive nature and ignorance of man kind.

This story is to be treasured as we may never be graced again with such a devoted couple whom have given so much insight into the daily life , habits and personalities of our precious African Hippo's.
This is a heart warming , gut wrenching , anger inducing tale of one woman's sole purpose in saving a family of Hippo's and the surrounding environment. It is a candid account of what life was , is and has the potential to be in Zimbabwe including the good the bad and the downright ugly.
I have been in awe of Karen and even more amazed by the fantastic support of her husband Jean, whom dedicated himself to his wife and not necessarily to her cause ... a love that surpasses understanding at times.

This book is a must read on what it really is to live selflessly and devote yourself wholhearted to a cause, not because you're being paid to do so but because you choose to do so!

I loved every minute of it and like Karen I was still living in the hope of  HAPPY surfacing in a waterhole right to the very end. THANK YOU KAREN for loving these Hippo's ... they know you do!

Donate to Karen's TURGWE HIPPO TRUST

For more info on where to get this book
Penguin Books

Disclosure Ranking 2 - (Please refer to my disclosure ranking in the side bar)