Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Friends at First Sight

They really don’t have much in common. One forages for fruit; the other, if given half a chance, will drink from the toilet. One can walk upright; the other is strictly four-on-the-floor. One’s natural element is in the treetops of Borneo’s forests; the other looks his good ol’ best riding in the back of a pickup truck.

Yet, when Suryia the orangutan met Roscoe the blue tick coonhound, it was interspecies love at first sight.

The two weren’t even aware of each other’s existence until two years ago. Suryia was living in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.). And Roscoe? No one’s exactly sure where he was before he made his first appearance.

The duo met when Dr. Bhagavan Antle, the institute’s director, was riding Bubbles the elephant through the woods for a cooling wallow in the river, with Suryia in tow. “Out of the woods comes this skinny little hound dog,” says Dr. Antle. “He runs up to us. He’s fearless. Normally dogs don’t like the elephants, and they don’t like orangutans. And Suryia doesn’t have a particular affinity for dogs. But he jumps off the elephant. They jump into each other’s arms—and they act like they’re long-lost brothers.”

Watch them on YouTube

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