A pet hippo mauled a man to death in South Africa who he used to ride and would describe as 'like a son.' South African farmer Marius Els' body was found in a river with marks of being bitten by a huge animal several times who he had earlier described as his son.
Mr Els, a resident of Free State province in South Africa, was shot riding the hippo in a footage which had went viral on the internet. The six year old pet hippo, named Humphrey bit Els repeatedly and dragged him into Vaal River close to his home.
Humphrey was adopted by Els, who had earlier stated that the pet hippo responded to his calls and they would often enjoy playing together. In an interview with Mirror, Els said that he went swim with the pet, and when he goes in to the water, Humphrey allows him to get on his back and ride him like a horse. He added that the hippo also swam with him.
He further mentioned that although it is a little dangerous, but he trusted Humphrey with his heart that the hippo would not hurt anybody. Els, who was earlier in Army at the position of a major, shared that he had built a great bond with him and would also brush Humphrey's teeth.
Ambulance service spokesman, Jeffrey Wicks, while talking to Mirror, said it is yet unknown that for how long the body was immersed in the river. “Paramedics responded to the scene to find the man had been bitten several times by the animal,” he added. The six year old Hippo was adopted as a calf by Els and raised as a pet in Free State.
Els, in earlier interviews while talking about their relationship, would share that what Humphrey and he have is a great relationship and that's what some people didn't understand. He would also say that while hippos are the most dangerous animal in Africa, he has a bonding with the animal. “They think you can only have a relationship with dogs, cats and domestic animals,” he said.
Earlier this year, footage of Els had gone viral riding the 2000 pound animal. Els had adopted Humphery when he was just five months after the hippo was rescued during a flood in the river. At the time of Els death, the hippo weighed 2,645-pound.