Jessica is a hippo with a phenomenal story of touching people’s hearts. She was found very young in an emaciated state along the banks of the Blyde River in South Africa, and taken in and rehabilitated by the Tonie and Shirley Joubert. Since her rescue in 2000, Jessica grew from strength to strength, and today interacts with wild hippos in the river, as well as the Joubert family and their dogs, never wanting to miss her treat time.
Treat time involves a snack with two bottles of tea and a back rub. Visitors are welcome to join for a small fee and be part of Jessica’s treat time – an experience which has amazed many of our volunteers who have completed placements in the Hoedspruit area. Jessica has become quite the celebrity, featuring in many radio and television shows and the news. With hippo being a social species, Jessica prefers company over being left alone and she revels in all the attention!
With Jessica having adopted people as her own family, and vice versa, her story is one of compassionate conservation, where the decision to take on the responsibility of saving a distressed wild animal proved positive for both Jessica and her caregivers. Because of this decision, visitors have been able to experience close, peaceful and endearing encounters with an animal who usually has the reputation of being the most dangerous mammal in Africa. Visitors are thoroughly briefed and tours are conducted with their safety as a priority, along with respect for Jessica’s comfort zone.
Jessica essentially serves as an ambassador for her species. Due to her unique story and love of people, visitors can form a connection when they interact with her, learning about her kind, and then spreading positivity about hippos and their importance to others.
Jessica’s home is not far from the South African town of Hoedspruit. If ever you find yourself in the area, be sure to pop into Jessica’s place for an otherwise unbelievable experience.
For further information visit: http://www.jessicahippo.com/
by Taryn Ingram-Gillson