Mankind and animals have been closely linked since the dawn of time, although at that stage it was more of a survival relationship than anything else. Today we look at some very unlikely friendships between humans and animals, and some very unlikely friendships between animals that truthfully, would have been pet food in any normal situation.
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9 - Keeping it in the family…
This is Christian the Lion, who was born in captivity in 1969. He was literally sold right out of the Harrod’s store and bought by John Rendall and Anthony "Ace" Bourke. The men brought the lion back to their London abode, but as the lion grew bigger, so they needed bigger premises. The bigger the lion got the more they realized that they couldn’t care for him in London anymore, so they got hold of George Adamson who helped them reintroduce Christian into the wild in Africa. When they went to visit the lion after a year, they were warned that the chances of the lion remembering them would be slim, but to their amazement the lion recognized them instantly.
8 - Puppy Love…
This is Mabel the Chicken and her puppies… well technically they’re not really hers, but they may as well be! Mabel had a foot injury which saw her moving into her owner’s home. When the family dog had puppies, Mabel took it upon herself to keep them warm when the puppies mom preferred being out in the yard. You could call her a real mother hen.
7 - Leader of the pack…
Here’s a bit of a Mowgli story. Shaun Ellis is the founder of Wolf Pack Management at Combe Martin Wildlife Park in Devon, England. In 2005 he spent nearly two years living in captivity with three abandoned wolf pups who were privately owned. Through knowledge of wolf behavior, he became the alpha male and had their allegiance. He has spent most of his life interacting with wolves and has learned to communicate with scent and sound, also in wolves’ natural habitats on other continents. His wish is to see wolves reintroduced to England, where they last seen in the wild in the 17th century.
6 - Unlikely bedfellows
Snake eats rodent. Finished. Right? Not in this case. Starting in 2005 in Tokyo’s Mutsuguro Animal Kingdom, Gohan-chan the hamster and Ao-chan the snake were bosom buddies. Ao-chan lost his appetite one day (or actually one month as he’s a snake), and the supplier was fresh out of frozen mice. It was thought that live prey might stimulate his appetite. However, the snake took no interest in the hamster, and they become one of the main attractions at the institution, living together. I wonder how Gohan-chan felt seeing his friend eating other rodents though? By the way Gohan means rice or meal in Japanese speak.
5 - Bearly believable…
Meet Mark Duma, a bear trainer based in BC, Canada. He has been in the animal training business for close to 45 years and has an 800lb polar bear as a pet, you know, as one does. He adopted Agee from an overcrowded zoo when she was 8 weeks old. They play, swim and even nap together. Like a cat-nap, except it’s a bear-nap. Mark is quick to point out that Agee is friendly and gentle towards him and his wife, but not to those she doesn’t know. We’ll stay clear.
4 - The mane thing is we’re friends
Bonedigger the lion was discovered to be suffering from a metabolic bone disease that left the poor chap partially disabled. Enter Milo, the 11lb Dachshund who thought a massive cat would make a good friend – that’s one brave doggie. Two other Dachshunds have joined in on the act, Bullet and Angel. Three Dachshunds and a lion – who would thought?
3 - Ohana means family
Now before we go on, bear in mind hippos kill more people in Africa than crocs, lions and other dangerous game put together. Jessica the hippo lives with Tony Joubert in South Africa. It’s not that unusual for hippos to go walkies in the Kwazulu Natal Province in SA, especially after heavy flooding. She was rescued and adopted by the Jouberts. They live on an open property so Jessica is free to roam and visit other hippos, but always returns home.
2 - King Louie and his pal
In a rare and endangered species reserve in the US, a rare friendship has blossomed. Roscoe, the Blue Tick Hound, followed Suryia and his handlers home one day. Suryia the Orangutan has never been happier since meeting Roscoe, and the feeling appears to be mutual. They swim together, walk together, groom each other, but I guess they don’t climb trees together.
1 - Everybody’s Best Friend…
If this is 100% real, then I would pay a lot of money to encounter this myself. This friendly shark has been used to promote shark diving in the Farallon Islands, and seems to have a fondness for human interaction. Looks like he’s a regular Bruce, just ask Nemo!