Photos: Orangutans and tigers become playmates
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
February 28, 2007
Dema, a Sumatran tiger licks Nia a baby orangutan in a nursery room at the Taman Safari zoo Wednesday Feb. 28, 2007, in Bogor, Indonesia. The tiger and orangutan baby, which would never be together in the wild, have become inseparable playmates after they were abandoned by their mothers. Caption and photo courtesy of the AP. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Sri an animal keeper gives milk to Manis, a Sumatran tiger cub with two baby orangutans in a nursery room at the Taman Safari zoo Wednesday Feb. 28, 2007, in Bogor, Indonesia. Caption and photo courtesy of the AP. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
The animals share a room in the nursery at Taman Safari zoo in Sumatra. The AP reports that the animals, which were orphaned, "cuddle" and play together.
"This is unusual and would never happen in the wild," zoo keeper Sri Suwarni is quoted as saying by the AP. "Like human babies, they only want to play."
The friendship will be short-lived since orangutans fall prey to tigers in the wild.
"When the time comes, they will have to be separated. It's sad, but we can't change their natural behavior," she said. "Tigers start eating meat when they are three months old."
Both the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger are highly endangered in Indonesia due to habitat loss and poaching. Conservationists estimate that fewer than 700 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, while orangutans are believed to number less than 50,000. Orangutan populations are fast-declining on the island of Borneo due to forest fires, land-clearing for oil palm plantations, illegal logging, and poaching for the pet trade.
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