Observing the friendship between diverse animal species is always endearing. This time, an unlikely friendship between a family of orangutans and some otters in a Belgian zoo has captured the attention (and the emotions) of the internet.
The orangutans and otters met for the first time when zookeepers at Pairi Daiza in Brugelette diverted the otter’s watercourse through the orangutans’ enclosure. Since that time, a healthy and, dare we say, mystical bond has developed between the two species.
Dear Pandas, the otterly adorable photographs speak for themselves, so please continue down, prepare to aww, and smile broadly. Continue reading for Bored Panda’s interview with Pairi Daiza zoo spokesperson Mathieu Goedefroy. And once you’ve finished reading this post, be sure to check out our prior article for more uncommon animal friendships.
The orangutan family in the menagerie consists of father Ujian, age 24, mother Sari, age 15, and their 4-year-old son Berani. In one of the photographs, Berani and his fellow Asian small-clawed otters are engaged in a game of hide-and-seek.
Mathieu told Bored Panda that orangutans and otters primarily engage in games of pursuit and hide-and-seek. “The otters conceal beneath large tree trunks or wooden structures, and then Berani, the baby orangutan, searches for them. They occasionally appear to torment him. It is truly remarkable to see.”
Mathieu asserts that the zoo invests heavily in the “enrichment” of their animal enclosures. This implies that both size and quality of life are extremely essential. In addition to hiding food, creating puzzles, organizing mind games, adding swings or new logs, one way to achieve this is by positioning animal species that can interact in the same enclosure or allowing them to see each other.”
“Our gorillas live with colobus monkeys, our penguins with seals, our kangaroos with pelicans, our squirrels with bats, our pygmy hippos with pelicans, our giraffes with ostriches, our Asian elephants with Asian gazelles, our zebras with buffaloes, etc.,” he said.
Mathieu confirmed to Bored Panda that the zoo is presently closed to the public; Belgium is currently under quarantine due to the coronavirus outbreak. This does not prevent us from providing our animals with the finest care every day.
“Two factors are extremely important for the well-being of an animal in captivity: his enclosure’s size and its quality,” he told Caters News. This means that animals, especially orangutans, with whom humans share 97 percent of their DNA, must always be entertained, occupied, challenged, and kept engaged mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Since 2017, when the orangutans relocated from Germany to Pairi Daiza zoo, Mathieu noted that the otters adore interacting with their “big furry friends.”
“Baby Berani and her father Ujian have developed a particularly close relationship with their neighbors,” Mathieu said. It makes life more enjoyable and fascinating for both animal species, making the experiment a success.