A 40-year-old farmer in South Africa was killed by his beloved pet hippo, Humphrey, when the animal dragged the farmer into a river and mauled him to death.
Marius Els, an Army major, had raised the 2,600 pound animal and considered Humphrey a part of his family, according to the U.K.’s Guardian.
Others had warned Els that hippos were dangerous and warned him against keeping Humphrey, but he ignored their warnings and was known ride around on the 5-year-old hippopotamus’s back, according to the Guardian.
“Humphrey’s like a son to me, he’s just like a human,” The Guardian reported Els saying earlier this year. “There’s a relationship between me and Humphrey, and that’s what some people don’t understand.”
Els had tried to domesticate the hippo he bought when it was 5 months old from people who had rescued it from the very river where Els ultimately met his end.
“They think you can only have a relationship with dogs, cats and domestic animals,” Els said at the time. “But I have a relationship with the most dangerous animal in Africa.”
Hippos are one of the most dangerous and aggressive mammals, according to the San Diego Zoo.