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Orangutans Strike Up Friendship With Family Of Otters Who Swim Through Ape Enclosure

Orangutans Strike Up Friendship With Family Of Otters Who Swim Through Ape Enclosure

If you need something to pick you up on this Monday morning, this is it. Staff at a zoo in Belgium have been overwhelmed by the surprise friendship that has formed between a family of orangutans and a group of otters at Pairi Daiza zoo in Brugelette.

They first met each other when gamekeepers decided to run the otters' river through the orangutans' enclosure - and since then they have hit it off, forming a 'very special bond' with one another.

Now, incredible photographs have been shared showing the orangutan family - Ujian, 24, Sari, 15 and their son Bernai, three - chilling with their little mates.

In one candid snap, Berani seems to be playing a game of hide and seek with one of the little guys.

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The orangutans and otters have become great pals. Credit: Caters
The orangutans and otters have become great pals. Credit: Caters

Speaking about the friendship, Pairi Daiza zoo spokesman Mathieu Goedefroy says introducing two different species together helps to 'enrich' both their lives.

He said: "Two factors are very important for the well being of an animal in captivity: the size of his enclosure, but also the quality of his enclosure.

"This means that an animal - and this is even more the case of orangutans, with whom humans share 97 per cent of their DNA - must be entertained, occupied, challenged and kept busy mentally, emotionally and physically at all times.

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The orangutans have been at the zoo since 2017. Credit: Caters
The orangutans have been at the zoo since 2017. Credit: Caters

"For this, we have a very strong 'enrichment' program for our orangutans, where our keepers entertain them all day long with mind games, riddles, puzzles, and other stuff to train their intelligence.

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"One of the 'enrichments' is to have different animal species together, so they can interact.

"That's why we chose to let an otter family live in the river that runs through the orangutan territory."

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The three orangutans moved over to Pairi Daiza zoo back in 2017.

A couple appeared to be playing 'hide and seek'. Credit: Caters
A couple appeared to be playing 'hide and seek'. Credit: Caters
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And Mr Goedefroy says that the group of otters now love nothing more than going over and playing with their 'big, furry friends'.

He added: "In particular, baby Berani and daddy Ujian have developed a very special bond with their neighbours.

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"It makes life more fun and interesting for both animal species, which makes it a very successful experiment."

Earlier this month, the world's only known albino orangutan, Alba, was seen for the first time in a year since she was released into the Borneo rainforest.

Alba was taken in by conservationists in 2017 after being found locked in a cage as a pet by villagers in the Indonesian region of Borneo, Kalimantan. Find out more about her incredible story, here.

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Topics: World News, Interesting

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Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]