Metro Detroit woman killed by a hippo while on safari in Tanzania

Posted at 10:31 PM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 16:25:05-04

Hippos may seem to be docile creatures, but they can be deadly.

A Rochester Hills woman died after being attacked by a hippo during a safari trip in Africa.

The Detroit Zoo no longer has a hippo exhibit but they do know how dangerous this animal can be.

Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter said, "Just about any wild animal are wild animals. Most large wild animals can be very dangerous."

Friends of the family of Carol Kirken say she was attacked by a hippo while on a safari tour in Tanzania.
Her obituary says that she died in the arms of her son.

Kirken had many friends in the Rochester area and worked to help the less fortunate.

She was 75-years-old.

"Venturing into animals' territories and there's always some risk when you do that."

In Africa, hippos kill more people than lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos combined.

"It could be people are in the wrong place in the wrong time and just not expecting animals to react they way they do," Carter explained. "They will defend their territory or their young if they feel threatened. They have strong jaws. They have really big teeth. They have very sharp teeth."

Carol was a founding member of the Women's Fund and donated to many charitable causes.

She leaves behind three children and five grandchildren.

While we are waiting to get more details surrounding the attack, it's clear hippos are deadly creatures...

"We never forget, even with animals in the zoos that they're still wild animals. They are still unpredictable and they can still be very dangerous."

Carol's family will hold a service for her next weekend.