These Otters and Orangutans in Belgium Are Best Friends — and the Photos Will Melt Your Heart
The Pairi Daiza let unexpected animal pairs hang out together — and this combo might be the cutest.
When the people are away, the zoo animals will play — and it couldn’t be cuter.
At the Pairi Daiza zoo in Brugelette, Belgium, which is currently closed for the forseeable future, a group of Asian small-clawed otters have found new friends within the zoo’s orangutan sanctuary, Metro reported. Sometimes, opposites do actually attract.
The orangutan sanctuary is home to three primates: A male named Uijan, a female named Sari, and their 4-year-old son, Berani. According to Metro, Uijan and Berani are particularly fond of their otter neighbors and can be seen playfully chasing them or playing hide-and-seek.
Be still, our hearts.
But the otters aren’t just making friends with the zoo’s orangutans because of coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine measures. The zoo is always at work on its enrichment program for the primates with zoo trainers, giving them games, puzzles, and other activities to help develop the orangutans’ intelligence, Metro reported.
“We have a very strong enrichment program for our orangutans, where our keepers entertain them all day long,” said Pairi Daiza spokesman Mathieu Goedefroy to Insider. “Animals — and this is, even more, the case with orangutans, with whom humans share 97% of their DNA — must be entertained, occupied, challenged, and kept busy mentally, emotionally, and physically at all times”
Allowing different species to live together is “more fun and interesting,” Goedefroy added. In addition, the zoo lets gorillas live with colobus monkeys, seals with penguins, zebras with buffalo, and more, Insider reported. The otters in the orangutan sanctuary live in the river that runs through it, and according to Goedefroy, the otters are also getting a lot of enjoyment out of coming out of the water to play with their orangutan friends.
While the Pairi Daiza zoo allows different (if unlikely) species to live together in harmony full time (not just during quarantine), other zoos around the world are opting to let their animals get a little taste of how other species live, like the penguins who are currently being allowed to walk around other exhibits at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois.
And while the animals are getting some much-needed socialization with other species, the rest of us can enjoy the absolutely adorable photos and footage while we’re all stuck at home.