There are numerous reasons why people shouldn’t keep wild animals in captivity, but one of the most powerful reasons is that they tend to lose or abandon their motherly instincts and this can cause the rejection of their offspring. Unfortunately, even after these animals have been rescued, it is hard to re-establish those wild instincts.
At Farm Inn Wildlife Sanctuary, a wildlife center in South Africa, a baby Bengal tiger, Hunter, was rejected by his own mom. Everyone at the center in Pretoria feared for his life. Hunter was at his greatest level of stress as for a rejected cub it is extremely hard to find someone else to comfort him as his mom should have done.
“We believe that Hunter was born at a time when the female must have felt compromised in some way as she rejected him,” Anthea Michaletos, volunteer at the sanctuary said.
However, we believe that Hunter was lucky he met Chelsea, a little German Pointer puppy when she was just not much older than him. His interactions with the dog were so positive and beneficial for his personality development and animal sociality. Ultimately, this helped to change his life forever.
Thanks to Anthea, this little fella is now inseparable. “He loves her so much,” she said. “Chelsea will run over to his cage and let him greet her. They play together, he paws her and then she jumps on him. Having a four legged friend is very helpful because he can play in the same way as he would play with another dog that is in a litter. He was the only cub in his litter and it’s very important for him to have a companion.”
The unlikely duo spend their time playing together under the caretaker’s supervision. However, this special bond could end in a short period of time, because when Hunter becomes six months old, And that’s for Chelsea’s safety.
Yet, after witnessing so many incredible friends across animals, I’d say their friendship could exist even after years, if all goes well.
What is clear is that they are enjoying each other’s company and having a special friendship. In some cases, we have seen that friendships between different animal species do last indefinitely.