The Pygmy Hippo, once considered a rare species only present in western Africa, has been shot and killed in Australia. The small creature was thought to be a large pig and shot by a hunting expedition. They were amazed, however, when they found it was not a pig but rather the smallest hippo they had ever seen. Could Australia have more of these creatures roaming about? The creature was actually suspected for some time to be in the area, but largely dismissed as a wild story dreamed up for tourists. Of course eyewitness testimony was for years discounted as the legend of the tiny hippo circulated.
Nico Courtney, one such witness told a local newspaper that he had seen the creature running away from him and a hunting buddy of his while they were scouring the bush. He said around 1:00 AM he and his buddy got out and saw the creature turn to reveal its face. The two were shocked to see a Hippo. Needless to say the creature was either hidden in the area or altogether unheard of in the bush.
Perhaps not entirely unheard of, however, as the sighting took place at Tipperary Station a more 50 km from the former site of an exotic wildlife refuge belonging to Warren Anderson, called Douglas Daley. Douglas Daley, originally a wildlife refuge catering to the more uncommon species encountered by either reclaimed animals from unlicensed exotic pet owners, or rescued animals from the bush. As the refuge grew, so did the problem of keeping track of the hundreds of animals present. Locals would often tell stories of a Giraffe walking down the nearby streets as it escaped the preserve. Others recounted the time a Zebra escaped spurring a massive search for it.
Unfortunately, the pygmy hippo that escaped traveled far enough that it was never found by authorities and became a creature of local folklore. Reports of the missing creature were lost, and everyone assumed those making reports of it were simply fabricated or mistaken, in much the way cryptid sightings are usually handled by the majority of society. Unfortunately for the hippo, these reports were not taken and the creature was shot and killed by Nico who thought it was a large pig. Responsibly, Nico went to the authorities to let them know what had happened, but the creature could not be saved. It is currently being studied by the Douglas Daly Research Farm.
As for the rest of the animals from Tipperary Station, they found various homes across the globe, but most now reside in the Queensland zoo. Of course this event does cast some light on how the vast majority can be mistaken in discounting incredible claims made by crypto zoologists and unsuspecting witnesses to mysterious creatures in the wild. It also seems to suggest that if in the area around a former wildlife preserve, to keep an eye out for potentially escaped animals.
All of the evidence in this particular case was public right from the beginning. It seems interesting that anyone hearing the stories could have likely drawn the conclusion that the animals of the Tipperary Station could have escaped and traveled south, including the reported Pygmy hippo, but it is the nature of many to simply say, “Impossible,” or “That’s weird. Oh well.” Had crypto zoologists been in the area, it’s possible they could have launched an expedition and saved the creature. It’s hopeful that what was once considered a hobby is gaining mainstream attention and becoming more scientific as time passes.