Owen was separated from his herd as a juvenile following the December 2004 tsunami and was brought to the Haller Park rescue center. Having no other hippos to interact with, Owen immediately attempted to bond with Mzee, whose large domed shell and brown color resembled an adult hippo. They formed an odd friendship that continued until 2006, when it was determined that Owen had grown too large to safely interact with Mzee. A separate enclosure was built for Owen and a new (female) hippo named Cleo, with whom he bonded quickly. With Owen now twice Mzee's size and well on his way to being socialized to other hippos, the famous friends went their separate ways and Mzee was returned to his regular enclosure.