An unlikely friendship has formed at the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Brugelette, Belgium between a family of Orangutans and visiting otters. Brugelette, Belgium – 01 Apr 2020 — Pairi Daiza Zoo

An unlikely friendship has formed at the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Brugelette, Belgium, between a family of Orangutans and visiting otters. 

The orangutans and otters first met when the staff at in Brugelette ran the otters’ river through the orangutans’ enclosure. Ever since, a wholesome and, dare we say, magical bond formed between the two species. 

The otter-orangutan enclosure in Pairi Daiza houses an orangutan family of three: 24-year-old ‘daddy’ Ujian, 15-year-old ‘mummy’ Sari, and Berani, their four-year-old son, who arrived at the zoo back in 2017. 

Mathieu Goedefroy, a spokesperson for the zoo, explains: “The presence of a family of Asian small-clawed otters in their territories is not a coincidence – two factors are very important for the wellbeing of an animal in captivity: the size of his enclosure, but also the quality of his enclosure. “This means that an animal – and this is, even more, the case of 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 other stuff to train their intelligence. One of the ‘enrichments’ is to have different animal species together, so they can interact – 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. Especially baby Berani and daddy Ujian have developed a very special band with their neighbors; It makes life more fun and interesting for both animal species, which makes it a very successful experiment.” 

Brugelette, Belgium

Pairi Daiza Zoo