The friendship between different animal species is always adorable to watch. This time, an unlikely friendship between a family of orangutans and some otters at a Belgian zoo has captured the internet’s attention (and its heart).
The orangutans and otters first met when the staff at Pairi Daiza zoo in Brugelette ran the otters’ river through the orangutans’ enclosure. Ever since then, a wholesome and dare we say magical bond formed between the two species.
Dad Ujian(24), mom Sari (15), and their son Berani that is 4 year old, are such a lovely orangutan family. In one of the photos, Berani is playing hide-and-seek with his Asian small-clawed otter buddies.
The two families sharing the habitat is by design; having the two species together allows them to interact as part of an “enrichment” program for the orangutans. In addition to having the two families cohabitate, keepers “entertain [the orangutans] all day long with mind games, riddles, puzzles, and other stuff to train their intelligence.”
Mathieu Goedefroy, spokesman for Pairi Daiza zoo has talked about their unusual friendship.
“The otters really enjoy getting out of the water on the orangutan island to go and play with their big, furry friends,” Goedefroy said. “It makes life more fun and interesting for both animal species, which makes it a very successful experiment.”
Having different animal species interact together is also part of the zoo’s enrichment program, Goedefroy added. The gorillas live with colobus monkeys, while the kangaroos are housed with the pelicans. The seals share space with the penguins, while the zebras call the buffalos their neighbours.
The zoo says orangutans are “extremely ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴᴇᴅ” in the wild, due to palm oil exploitation of the forests they live in Borneo and Sumatra. Goedefroy says the zoo has raised funds to plant 11,000 trees in the region to help orangutans who live in the wild.