The “Very Special Bond” Between Orangutans And Otters
It feels amazing when you see different species of animals bond with one another. There have been different instances where unlikely friendships have been reported, like this family of orangutans has befriended some otters at the Belgian zoo and it has captured the attention and heart of the internet.
The otters and the orangutans met for the first time after the Pairi Daiza zoo in Brugelette connected the river of the otters through the enclosure of the orangutans. Since then, a heartwarming and magical friendship formed between the two different species. Dad Ujian who is 24, mom Sari (15), and their son Berani (4 years old) make up the orangutan family in the zoo. In one of the photos, Berani is playing hide-and-seek with his Asian small-clawed otter buddies.
Mathieu told that the orangutans and the otters mainly play chase-games and hide-and-seek: “The otters hide under large tree trunks or wooden constructions, then Berani, the baby orangutan, comes to look for them. Once and a while they pop out to tease him. It’s really amazing to see.”
According to him, the zoo invests a lot in “enrichment” of their animal enclosures. This enrichment consists of increasing the size of the enclosures and giving the animals a better quality of life. The way the staff does this beside hiding food, organizing mind games, making puzzles, and adding swings or new logs, is making the species interact with one another in the same enclosure. Sometimes it’s enough just to make them see each other.
Mathieu reported that the zoo has “gorillas live together with colobus monkeys, our penguins live with the seals, our kangaroos share an enclosure with pelicans, we have squirrels living with bats, pygmy hippos with pelicans, giraffes with ostriches, Asian elephants with Asian gazelles, zebras with buffalos… and so on.” He also said that the zoo is currently closed to the public until it’s allowed to reopen; Belgium is currently facing a lockdown due to the coronavirus. “This does not stop us from giving our animals the very best care each day.”
Mathieu said that there are two factors crucial in keeping the animals well in captivity and they are: the size and quality of the enclosure. He added that “This means that an animal – and this is, even more, the case of orangutans, with whom humans share 97 percent of their DNA – must be entertained, occupied, challenged and kept busy mentally, emotionally and physically at all times.” Mathieu pointed out that ever since 2017 when the orangutans moved from Germany to Pairi Daiza zoo, and since then, the otters and the orangutans love the interaction that they have between them. Mathieu claims that this experiment has been a great success because the two animal species have lots of fun together. The photos below, are just heartwarming and adorable as the two species are.