After my previous article about animal friendships, I found the friendship of a Lion named Bonedigger and a Dachshund named Milo truly inspiring.
Just look at them together:
Bonedigger has a metabolic bone disease which has left him slightly crippled. Milo, and a couple other Dachshunds, seemed to recognize his disability and took to him to protect him as part of their pack. Milo has been with the lion since he was a cub, so they have a special relationship to the point that Milo will even groom him. All of these animals live at the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood Oklahoma.
The pictures alone are simply amazing! Such a big cat with such small dogs, sharing in mutual grooming and even eating together!
I think it can be easily said that animals form friendships. Such a small dog would seem like an easy snack for a lion, but instead they are living together in a way in which is enriching for both.
Even more intriguing is the story of Bonedigger’s keeper, John Reinke. He used to be a professional bungee jumper but ended up losing both of this legs to an accident from the sport and now works with big cats. You can read his story at NewsOK.
Reinke with Bonedigger and Milo:
(all pictures from the dailymail)
If you are ever near the G.W. Exotic Animal Park you should pay these unique animals a visit!
– Fizz Pig
At Busch Gardens in Florida zookeepers embarked on a strange journey. They had a new 8 month old male Cheetah cub (now named Kasi), but no other cheetah cubs. For the animal to have a companion they introduced the cub to a puppy, a 16 week old rescued lab mix (now named Mtani). The animals developed a friendship, learning how to communicate together. At first they spent only supervised time together, and now they live and travel together all the time.
Now that they are older, Busch Garden uses them to help educated the public about Cheetahs, rescuing exotic animals, and the importance of rescuing domestic animals like Mtani. The two can be seen on display in their enclosure at the Cheetah Run. They do actually run the cheetahs (and Mtani) using a lure system that pulls a lure along the ground on a line. If you visit make sure to find out what time the Cheetahs will run because it is something to see!
A video of them on their first year anniversary, explaining the relationship and showing off their running skills:
Do animals have the capacity for friendship? I never really thought otherwise until I realized most biologists studying animals have only recently considered the idea worth studying. Of course, animals do not communicate or express emotions the same way people do. Even if it were flawlessly possible to prove what an animal is thinking or “emoting” it would not always be for the same reasons we do. That does not make what they experience any less, only different. But if you have ever owned an animal you can see each has their own personality and seems to display love, affection, or “friendship.”
A human animal relationship in and of itself is already an inter-species relationship that demonstrates the ability of an animal to bond with a creature not like itself. Inter-species friendships are especially interesting because I think it does point to the ability or desire of an animal to be with others, even if not the same species. Most often these relationships occur when humans have intervened – at animal preserves, zoos, or even in your own home (dogs and rabbits for example). Yes, we placed the animals in those situations but they could just as easily decide to not remain in a relationship (your dog eating your pet rabbit for example). These relationships might occur less frequently in nature because they would be hard to find and observe, and because it is probably much more rare for an animal to not have another of its own kind to bond with.
An impala at Kruger National Park in South Africa escaped from cheetahs hunting it by jumping into a tourist’s parked car. The most amazing parts of the story are that the impala lived, no one was hurt, and people took both photos and video of the incident.
Here are photographs of the progression:
The impala begins to head for the SUV:
The window on the side is open and the impala begins to jump for it:
The impala gets closer to the window:
Now the impala is going into the window:
The impala is in the SUV and the cheetahs are out of luck and confused:
Someone in the car was able to open the door and the impala escaped out to return to its herd. I am absolutely amazed at the ingenuity of the impala to escape and that it fit through the window. The will to survive is strong!
You can see more photos and the video on the Mail online.
Here is a photo of more of the impalas running and leaping to escape, they are magnificent looking!