Mother Nature never ceases to amaze when it comes to unusual encounters between animals of different species. This time, the internet was won over by a very special friendship between a family of orangutans and some adoring otters.
Even though the two families live in adjacent enclosures at Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium, no one could have predicted that two such different species would interact in such a lovely way. And the zoo’s recent adorable photos show that this special bond is only getting stronger!
The unlikely relationship between the orangutans and the otters, according to the zoo’s staff, began as part of a program designed to keep the animals “entertained, occupied, challenged, and kept busy mentally, emotionally, and physically at all times.” Because otters love to swim and the only river in the orangutans’ enclosure runs through it, they were bound to cross paths. No one could have predicted the three orangutans’ fascination with their small neighbors.
Ujian, 24, his 15-year-old mother Sari, and their 3-year-old son Berani are all looking forward to spending time with their best friends. “The otters on the orangutan island really enjoy getting out of the water to go and play with their big, furry friends,” zoo spokesman Mathieu Goedefroy told CNN. “Baby Berani and daddy Ujian, in particular, have formed a special bond with their neighbors. It improves the quality of life for both animal species, making it a very successful experiment.
The orangutan population is unfortunately on the verge of extinction. Orangutans have lost more than half of their native habitats in Borneo and Sumatra over the last few decades, with logging operations being the primary cause. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the Bornean orangutan as critically endangered.