Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The deadly enemies who are the best of friends

In the wild they would be deadly enemies. In captivity they are the best of friends.

Two Sumatran tiger cubs and two baby orang-utans, each pair abandoned by their mother soon after birth, have become inseparable playmates in the nursery room of an animal hospital in Indonesia.

Tiger cubs and orang-utans

Nia and Irma happily snuggle up to the cubs in a way that five-month-old orang-utan sisters would never normally contemplate.

Likewise, Dema and his month-old sister Manis are quite content to snooze in the gentle embrace of their tiny guardians' arms.

Tiger cubs and orang-utans

Both pairs are bottle-fed by staff at the Taman Safari animal hospital in Java, and monitored constantly as they grow up side by side in what must be one of nature's most unusual foursomes.

So far the study has revealed that the apes like to swing from ropes and high bars in the nursery, while the cubs enjoy a cat-nap after lunch.

There are more photos here.

Update: And a video here.

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