Orangutans and otters living together at Belgium zoo become besties

If you’re in need of some wholesome animal content to distract you from coronavirus headlines, then we have just the thing.

A family of orangutans have become best friends with a group of otters at a zoo in Belgium.

The unlikely roommates, who live at the Pairi Daiza zoo in Brugelette, often spend their days playing harmoniously together. 

The group of Asian small-clawed otters reside in the river that runs through the zoo’s orangutan sanctuary – which is home to father Uijan, mother Sari and their 4-year-old son, Berani. 

It seems that Uijan and Berani have become particularly attached to their otter neighbours as they can often be found chasing them and playing hide-and-seek.

Pairi Daiza spokesman Mathieu Goedefroy says the two animals live together as part of the zoo’s enrichment programme – which is designed so different animal species interact with one another.

He tells Insider: ‘Animals — and this is even more the case with orangutans, with whom humans share 97% of their DNA — must be entertained, occupied, challenged, and kept busy mentally, emotionally, and physically at all times.

‘For this, we have a very strong enrichment program for our orangutans, where our keepers entertain them all day long with mind games, riddles, puzzles, and more to train their intelligence.

‘It makes life more fun and interesting for both animal species. That’s why we chose to let an otter family live in the river that runs through the orangutan territory.

‘The otters really enjoy getting out of the water on the orangutan island to go and play with their big, furry friends.’

But it’s not just otters and orangutans who form part of this programme – gorillas can be found with colobus monkeys, while the kangaroos live with pelicans and zebras reside with buffalos.

The zoo is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic but staff members have remained at the facility to ensure the animals are looked after.

Zoos around the world may have closed their doors but a number of venues have set up online webcams, so people can watch animals from the comfort of their own homes.

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