Published 2021-12-14
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Woman Has Intestines Ripped Out By A Hippo At Famous Farm?! Scandal After A One Star Review.

When it comes to wild animals, there is always a fascination with them. For many years, people had dreamed of getting up close and personal with an exotic animal that is not a regular sight where they are from. This is why safari tours, as well as animal conservation centers, are a popular destination for tourists, as it allows them, to a certain extent, to get up close and personal with these wild animals which they previously had only seen in books or TV screens. And the town of Hoedspruit in the Limpopo province of South Africa has its own attraction that has been world-famous and that is the farm where Jessica the hippo lives. And while thousands flock to the place run by Shirley and Tonie Joubert to meet the tame hippo one woman was left with more than just negative memories. According to Pretoria News, the woman and her cousin were attacked by another hippo living there called Richie which prompted the woman to leave a negative review of the farm’s Trip Advisor page. What exactly happened that led to the attack? Just how severe were the women’s injuries? And how did the owners of the park react? Read on to find out!

Jessicas Story

Jessica the Hippo, as she has become known, was found by the Jouberts in 2000 when they discovered her in debris that had been washed away on the banks of the Blyde River, after flash floods that took place that year. According to Jessicas Place’s website, she was very premature, only a few hours old, and she still her the umbilical cord attached to her, which they claimed must have had disastrous effects on her nerves because she was very traumatized. Once they realized that the hippo calf’s mother was nowhere to be found they rescued her and bottle-fed her until she got up to a healthy weight for a baby hippo. And so this is how their adventure with these animals began and, over 20 years later, she is a fully grown hippo who lives on the family’s farm, but still has access to the river and to roam free and as far as she wants, but Jessica has become so habituated that she still comes back daily to the Jouberts for some of her favorite snacks which according to those who visit the farm includes Rooibos tea and sweet potato treats. But is she the only hippo on the farm? Read on to find out.

History Repeats Itself

As the Jouberts write on their website, history likes to repeat itself, and in January 2012, after similar conditions such as in 2000, which included severe weather and flash floods, Tonie had discovered another baby hippo that had washed up on the riverbanks. This one was a male and according to the website, he was even smaller than Jessica with his umbilical cord still attached, which signified that he was only a couple of hours old. With the mother nowhere to be found, the couple decided to save him as well and took him in, giving him the name Richie, also known as Seun which in Afrikaans means son. Though in the case of the male hippo things were a little different and he has to be kept in an enclosure at night for his own protection, from the territorial male hippos that came to visit Jessica. Though as Richie grew, according to the site, he became a strong young boy and has become good friends with Jessica, whom he often engages with when she comes out of the river. The older hippo has accepted the new addition to the farm and the two behave like mother and son.

Jessicas Place

The Jouberts have opened their own farm, called Jessica’s Place where they offer tours for tourists to come in, feed Jessica some snacks and tea as well as have the opportunity to pet her. According to the website, visitors are also able to see Richie though it does not state whether they are able to feed and pet him just like they are with the older hippo. Over time, the farm has become a very popular destination for tourists so that they can get up close and personal with the tamed animals, which out in the wild are much more violent and dangerous, especially given that according to statistics, there are around 500 deaths per year in Africa that are due to hippo attacks. But despite this, Jessica’s Place has never had any negative press, most reviews on Tripadvisor singing the farm and the owners praise and admiring the opportunity they were given to get close to these animals. However, that was until recently, where a woman claimed a visit to the farm has left her traumatized. But what exactly happened? Read on to find out.

Negative Tripadvisor Review

While the park had a handful of negative reviews, in the past, it was usually due to poor roads, dodgy hours, or the "rude" owners, and not as severe as one that appeared on the Tripadvisor page in December 2021. The woman who went by the handle name tashvrany gave the place a one-star review claiming that she and her cousin were attacked by Richie when they visited the place on November 14th, adding that the hippos are not tame and can attack at any time, as well as accusing the farm’s owners of denying everything. Of course, local news, Pretoria News, had picked up on the story and reported on it in full, identifying the woman as 39-year-old Natasha Vrany and her cousin, 62-year-old Belinda Newman.

Natasha Attacked By Richie

When speaking to the local news, Vrany claimed that her cousin had known the Joubert for more than 20 years, and when the two of them were visiting the farm in November. Before the attack happened, the women were at Tonie and Shirley’s home, sitting out the lawn with the man who didn’t have his rifle on him, and that they all felt quite safe and confident that there would not have been any issues. However, as the woman said, that all changed when all of a sudden the 9-year-old male hippo, came dashing out of the river. She had her back to the river, but Natasha was able to feel the stamping on the ground. According to her version of events, as she got to her feet, Richie pushed her down to the ground and proceeded to bite both of her legs and throw her around like a rag doll. At first, she tried to fight him off by stabbing him in the eyes with her nails but that only made him bite down harder. When Richie began carrying her down towards the river, she recalled screaming at Tonie to not let him take her, at which point, the man began slapping the hippo saying “Seun moenie” which in Afrikaans means “son don’t”. But did someone else jump to her aid? Read on to find out.

Belinda To The Rescue

However, it was Natasha’s cousin Belinda that came to her rescue, jumping onto the hippo’s back to try and get him off and it worked but the animal then turned his attention to her. As the young woman told the press, Richie opened his mouth which allowed her legs to fall out of his mouth but then he turned to Newman and pushed her to the ground before he started to ‘rip her stomach to pieces’. According to Vrany’s recollection, she managed to run to the house to ash Shirley to fetch a rifle, but then passed out. When she woke up, she remembered her cousin standing over her and, here we quote, “holding her intestines in her hand to try and get them to stay inside.”

Getting Help After The Attack

The woman claimed that when she handed Tonie her phone to call an ambulance, he just kept saying that it was a scratch and that they would be fine. She had also claimed that he only agreed to hand the phone back to her if they both said that the incident happened outside the premises and that it was a wild hippo that attacked them. However, the paramedics did eventually arrive yet while they were tending to the women, the owner of the farm didn’t make too much of it. As Natasha wrote, while their wounds were being tended to, Tonie had brought Jessica the hippo through the house so that he could put her to bed on the veranda, which shocked the women and the paramedics. Both of the women were taken to the hospital and had undergone several surgeries. As Vrany told reporters, the hippo attack was one of the most traumatic experiences of her entire life, and that she still has nightmares about it to this day, as well as the fact she is in constant, excruciating pain. But just how did Tonie react? Read on to find out.

Jessicas Story

Tonie’s Story

However, the owner of Jessica’s Place has a totally different story to tell. He claims that the incident had occurred outside of his premises adding that when he saw a ‘wild hippo’ getting hold of Vrany, he jumped into action. According to his version of events, when he saw the attack, he took a heavy rock and hit the hippo’s head with it and managed to hit him above the eye, where there is a soft bone. That caused the animal to let go of the woman. As Tonie said, he saved the women’s lives by putting his own at risk. Joubert also stated that he knows his two hippos were not responsible for the attack because when he ran back home for help, Jessica was fast asleep on the veranda while Richie was chilling on his blanket.

Not The Only Attack?

As of the time this article was written it is unclear whether there will be an investigation against the man and his hippos or if the women plan to file any lawsuits for the injuries that they had received. While this time it was Richie who had allegedly caused harm to visitors, in the past Jessica was also accused of an attack. though her ‘victim’ claimed that it wasn’t intentional. Back in 2014, a local news report claimed that a man named Stephen Jansen van Rensburg, who had worked with the hippo, had been left with “his left thumb hanging on skin” when she had bitten him. However, van Rensburg himself had later insisted that the news reports were sensationalized. According to his version of events, he had put his hand in Jessica’s mouth and she closed it, piercing the skin but his digit was not left hanging, only a small piece of his skin was missing. The man also added that there is no way that Jessica would have intentionally hurt anyone.

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