Meet the animal kingdom’s most unlikely surrogate parents

They say love is love – and it seems that’s a principle that applies to animals as much as it does to humans.

Last week’s story of how one-year-old gorilla Hasani is lovingly raised by surrogate mother Kera, another gorilla at the Bristol Zoo, after his natural mother Kala was unable to care for him, reveals that we’re not the only species who love to adopt small children. . those in need.

Here, TANITH CAREY finds some touching examples of animals lending a paw (or wing) to help others in need of companionship and protection. . .

Pusha the cat took in four orphaned red squirrels in Bakhchysarai, Crimea

Pusha the cat took in four orphaned red squirrels in Bakhchysarai, Crimea

CAT WHO FRED AND Frustrated FOUR ADOPTED BABY SQUIRREL

On the same day that Pusha gave birth to four kittens in Bakhchysarai, Crimea, she took in four orphaned red squirrels.

The one-month-old squirrels, found abandoned in a zoo in 2019, were handed over to staff, who decided to see if their resident cat would look after them.

Within hours, Pusha let them share her milk, nurse and lick it.

Now the squirrels live in the park because she couldn’t show them how to collect nuts!

One-year-old male hippo Owen has been rescued by giant tortoise Mzee

One-year-old male hippo Owen has been rescued by giant tortoise Mzee

One-year-old male hippo Owen has been rescued by giant tortoise Mzee

GIANT TURTLE BECOMING THE MOTHER OF A NIPPO

When the Indian Ocean Boxing Day tsunami hit the coast of Kenya on Boxing Day 2004, it washed away a herd of hippos wallowing in backwaters in the sea.

A one-year-old male hippo sat alone on a sand reef and was rescued by locals, who named him Owen and took him to the Haller Park Rescue Center, an animal shelter 50 miles away.

There he was placed in a large enclosure that already housed a giant tortoise named Mzee.

Owen longed for his mother, ran to the turtle and hid behind him.

Keepers believe Mzee’s brown, domed shell may have reminded Owen of his lost parent—and thankfully, the aged tortoise didn’t seem to mind.

The next day, the pair were still found close together and soon they were inseparable, walking, eating and even swimming together.

After two years, Owen grew to twice the size of Mzee and began to meet other hippos – but the unlikely pair are still companions.

Welsh mountain pong Heidi has taken in three-month-old orphaned lambs Prince, Dewdrop and George

Welsh mountain pong Heidi has taken in three-month-old orphaned lambs Prince, Dewdrop and George

Welsh mountain pong Heidi has taken in three-month-old orphaned lambs Prince, Dewdrop and George

MARE THAT HAS NOT FINISHED MATERNITY

Welsh mountain pony Heidi wasn’t quite done with motherhood after having her own foal five years ago.

When Becky Popham brought three-month-old orphaned lambs Prince, Dewdrop and George home from a nearby farm after their mother passed away last May, the 10-year-old mare came to the rescue, hugging them and patiently standing as they tried to eat.

Owner and mother of three Popham, 34, said: “Heidi started by laying down with them. From there it went to those who were under her. She started licking them and produced a little bit of milk to feed them.

‘She had them docked and they bumped into her udders like lambs do—she stood by and licked them. She clearly knew they needed a mummy.

“I asked the vet and he said it was all right. Her maternal instinct just kicked in.’

Orangutan Anggun was orphaned when she was just a few months old by poachers who wanted to sell her as a pet.  Her rescuers knew who to call to help - another female orangutan, Monti

Orangutan Anggun was orphaned when she was just a few months old by poachers who wanted to sell her as a pet.  Her rescuers knew who to call to help - another female orangutan, Monti

Orangutan Anggun was orphaned when she was just a few months old by poachers who wanted to sell her as a pet. Her rescuers knew who to call to help – another female orangutan, Monti

SURROGATE ORANGUTAN WHO CAME TO RESCUE ORphaned MONKEY

In 2018, orangutan Anggun was orphaned when she was just a few months old by poachers who wanted to sell her as a pet. Her rescuers knew who to call in to help — another female orangutan, Monti, who had been rescued under the same circumstances a decade earlier.

Monti was prepared for a return to the wild by the charity International Animal Rescue at their ‘forest school’ reserve in Indonesia – and she taught Anggun what she had learned, such as how to open a coconut, find food and build nests in the trees.

She also showed a mother’s love, allowing Anggun to eat and drink for her and sleep on her stomach.

Last year, the pair were released into a protected national park, where it is hoped they will eventually reproduce.

But since orangutan babies stay with their mothers for up to seven years, now they are just happy to be together.

When Roberta the Miniature Donkey lost her mother 24 hours after her birth in 2018, not one but two surrogate mothers came to the rescue

When Roberta the Miniature Donkey lost her mother 24 hours after her birth in 2018, not one but two surrogate mothers came to the rescue

When Roberta the Miniature Donkey lost her mother 24 hours after her birth in 2018, not one but two surrogate mothers came to the rescue

SHEEP THAT ARE DONKEYS ON BABYSITTERS

When Roberta, the miniature donkey, lost her mother 24 hours after her birth in 2018, not one but two surrogate mothers came to the rescue.

While the staff at Folly Farm, a petting zoo in South Wales, was hand-rearing the orphan with goat’s milk, two hand-reared sheep named Lamby and Snowy stepped in to help with the babysitting.

Kim Brickell, assistant farm manager, said, “They bonded right away. We weren’t sure how it would go. Roberta was small and vulnerable, but Lamby and Snowy were very kind and gentle to her. They often cuddle and play with the three of them.’

Cheetah cub Kumbali befriends 10-week-old labrador rescue puppy Kago

Cheetah cub Kumbali befriends 10-week-old labrador rescue puppy Kago

Cheetah cub Kumbali befriends 10-week-old labrador rescue puppy Kago

THE MAN’S BEST FRIEND APPEARED TO BE THE PERFECT PAL FOR A SAD CHEETAH

Male cheetah cub Kumbali started losing weight two weeks after he was born in 2015, because his mother couldn’t produce enough milk for all three of her newbies.

Keepers at the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia, USA, began to hand-move Kumbali, but saw that he still needed a friend, so they introduced him to 10-week-old Labrador rescue puppy Kago.

Because cheetahs are generally fearful animals, zoos have used dogs as calming companions for orphaned cubs for over 30 years.

This couple definitely clicked and now lives in their own enclosure where they hunt, play and rest together.

When week-old Dennis the Duck lost his mother to a fox in 2012, four-year-old Labrador Fred happily stepped in and became a potent stay-at-home dad.

When week-old Dennis the Duck lost his mother to a fox in 2012, four-year-old Labrador Fred happily stepped in and became a potent stay-at-home dad.

When week-old Dennis the Duck lost his mother to a fox in 2012, four-year-old Labrador Fred happily stepped in and became a potent stay-at-home dad.

POOCH DAD TO TEN DUCKS

Most people would be nervous to keep their dogs around ducklings.

But when week-old Dennis the duck lost his mother to a fox in 2012, four-year-old labrador Fred, who also lived at Mountfitchet Castle in Essex, was happy to step in and become a stay-at-home mom. dad.

Fred started licking the orphaned duckling’s feathers, so Dennis paid him back by following the dog.

Soon he was piggybacking on Fred’s head and the pair even went swimming together (although Dennis had more of an instinct for it, admittedly).

After Fred helped raise Dennis to adulthood, he still can’t seem to get enough of fatherhood.

Six years later, he did it again when he adopted a brood of ducklings at the age of ten after their mother was also killed by a fox. This time, he let all nine piggyback — and let them sleep between his protective paws.

Orphaned pygmy owl Poldi is best friends with Belgian Malinois Ingo

Orphaned pygmy owl Poldi is best friends with Belgian Malinois Ingo

Orphaned pygmy owl Poldi is best friends with Belgian Malinois Ingo

BIG DOG WHO ADOPTED A LITTLE OWL

Owls are not known for being sociable – so the bond between an orphaned pygmy owl and a Belgian Malinois 30 times its size is truly extraordinary.

In 2013, Poldi was a chick whose mother abandoned him after hatching late. He was taken in by Tanja Brandt, 52, from Düsseldorf in Germany, who thought her grumpy four-year-old dog Ingo would try to kill the new arrival – but he was gentle and Poldi soon started jumping on Ingo’s head to be taken on walks . When he wants his dog’s attention, he bites his ears!

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