Zoo pals: Samantha the gorilla and Panda the bunny. Photo by: Greg Wohlford/Erie Times-News
What do you get when you pair an elderly zoo gorilla with a rabbit? At the Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania, you get a friendship.
Samantha, a 47 year-old western lowland gorilla, was in need of companionship after her “roommate” Rudy, a male gorilla, died in 2005. Zoo keepers decided she was too frail and old to have another gorilla companion, so they introduced her to Panda, a Dutch rabbit.
The two unlikely friends hit it off. Samantha gently pets Panda, and they share food.
According to zoo director Cindy Kreider, “To have something sharing their space that they can observe and interact with is always going to be beneficial.”
Starting today guests at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida will get to see an unlikely pair – a cheetah cub and a yellow Labrador puppy. The 8-week-old cheetah was taken in last month because his mother was unable to care for him. Last week the animal care team decided on the 16-week-old puppy as a companion. The two will live together in Jambo Junction, a part of the Nairobi area of the park.
The park has opened a poll on their Facebook page to allow voting on what to the name the pair. Voting ends on Monday, April 18.
UPDATE: The cheetah cub has been named Kasi, which is Swahili for “one with speed.”
Many of you may be familiar with the story of Christian the lion, a YouTube sensation (and if you’re not, you really should see it). This Saturday, September 26 at 8pm ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel is showcasing several heartwarming stories about animal bonds, including the tale of Christian the lion, in its program, Unlikely Animal Friends.
The one-hour special will also feature an orangutan and a hound dog, a tortoise and a hippo, a cat and a crow, an elephant and a dog, and more.