A Detroit woman was enjoying time with her family on an African safari last week when a hippopotamus attacked and killed her.

Carol Kirken, 75, was on vacation in Tanzania and has just shared photos of her exciting safari adventure, including a message that she had seen many beautiful animals such as hippos, right before the animal attacked her. She tragically died in her son’s arms.

“Having past 75 years old, she was resolutely shooting for 100. She would have surely achieved it if not for this accident,” her grieving relatives wrote in a post for a Michigan funeral home. “We are shocked and saddened at her early departure from our lives.”

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The family did not indicate what had prompted the hippo to attack her, but the animals are known for using their teeth and defending themselves against anything they view as a threat. Plus, they’ve been deemed one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.

“Just shock,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett told Fox 2 in Detroit. “There are few people in the community that you think of that are absolute treasures, and Carol is one of those in our community. She is a person who left a positive mark in this community a lot of people who benefited because of her passion.”

Kirken was well-known in her community for her charitable work at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center and the North Oakland YMCA and as a founding member of the Rochester Women’s Fund.

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Carlin Becker About the author:
Carlin Becker is an Associate Content Editor at Rare. Follow her on Twitter @_carlbeck.
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