Greetings and salutations,
On every tour I undertake, be it on land or water, there always seem to be a string of questions the visitors need to ask of the guide. Generally most are routine, although I offer a huge amount of info at the beginning. Occasionally I get a request to repeat a certain amount of the introduction info; while other questions add to everybody's experience, and these often help other guests understand the animals and the Eco-system.
The iSimangaliso Park is an extensive and complex area of eight Eco-systems, each interlinked in many intricate ways. These interlinking pathways are large and small, and it takes the first hour or so to digest and think about the information to get to a point of some understanding of the complexity of this speciality environment. Usually there are a variety of animals that we happen upon. Only a major catastrophe would result in us not seeing one of them. Hippos are guaranteed. Plenty of them, and we certainly discuss them in great detail. How they fit into this wetland, and how they relate to man and how they behave towards the other residents in the St. Lucia Estuary. But then after all this deep discussion I was thrown a curved ball on this particular tour, and still wonder about the ultimate answer........... Do hippos think they are funny?
Generally I have a response, but this question defeated my armoury of answers. Try as I may, at that moment I felt like George Bush must have felt when he was told that Obama had won the American election. I ummed, erred and aahed, and never produced a sensible or certifiably convincing answer, apart from the fact that there is a lot more communication between social animals and solitary animals than we realise. Since this is the case, it is possible they may have some feelings, humorous or otherwise.
Yes, humorous or not, that is the question.
Hasta la vista
The Knait Whrydah