Otters Form ‘Very Special Bond’ With Orangutan Family Who Share Belgian Zoo Enclosure

by : Cameron Frew on : 30 Mar 2020 12:09
Otters Form 'Very Special Bond' With Orangutan Family Who Share Belgian Zoo EnclosurePairi Daiza/Caters

It’s the friendship we need right now. In a Belgian zoo, a family of orangutans have formed ‘a very special bond’ with their neighbouring otters. 

The two groups came together after staff at Pairi Daiza zoo in Brugelette allowed the Asian small-clawed otters’ river to run through the orangutans’ area.


Ujian, 24, Sari, 15 and their son Bernai, three, certainly didn’t mind the company – even appearing to play hide and seek with the adorable creatures.

Orangutans Otters Pairi Daiza/Caters

The heartwarming photos show the apes entertaining the rambunctious otters, with the zoo claiming it’s of great value to their mental wellbeing, saying orangutans in particular ‘must be entertained, occupied, challenged and kept busy mentally, emotionally and physically at all times’.

Mathieu Goedefroy, a spokesman for Pairi Daiza, said:


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.

In particular baby Berani and daddy Ujian have developed a very special bond with their neighbours. It makes life more fun and interesting for both animal species, which makes it a very successful experiment.

Orangutans OttersPairi Daiza/Caters

The apes arrived at the zoo in 2017 after a move from Germany. They certainly lapped up their new pals, but the otters also ‘really enjoy getting out of the water on the orangutan island to go and play with their big, furry friends’.

Be right back, just going to cry about the lack of otters and orangutans in my life.


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Belgium, zoo