A Michigan grandmother died after being attacked by a hippo during a family trip to Tanzania.
Carol Kirken, a registered nurse and philanthropist from suburban Detroit, was watching the hippos with her son, Robert, when the attack unfolded. She died in his arms.
“Our cherished Carol Kirken died in Tanzania on August 5. She was on her annual holiday with family members for an African safari,” the family wrote in her obituary.
Before her death, the 75-year-old had posted to Facebook to say how excited she was to witness a hippo migration.
“Having [passed] 75 years old, she was resolutely shooting for 100,” her obituary read. “She would have surely achieved it if not for this accident. We are shocked and saddened at her early departure from our lives.”
Her obituary noted that she was “passionate about helping the less fortunate,” and was part of multiple charitable efforts in her area.
“Without her there will always be a sadness,” it read. “But the joy she created is so much… stronger for her family and friends.”
The tragedy highlights how hippos should never be underestimated. The beasts, which can weigh thousands of pounds, can outrun humans.
“The hippopotamus is the most dangerous animal in Africa,” Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo, told Inside Edition. “They can travel nearly 20 mph. They have very sharp teeth.”
Kirken’s family was arranging for her body to be flown home and will be holding a memorial for her on Aug. 20, according to local reports.
One of her grandsons remembered her in a touching tribute on Facebook.
“You were an amazing woman and the greatest grandmother anyone could ask for,” he wrote.