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Animal instincts and the laws of nature ensure that a certain balance is maintained in the animal kingdom. Species stick to their own kind, carnivores hunt to eat, and some wild animals have a vicious streak in them that is vital for their survival in the wild. However, when taken out of their natural habitat and separated from their family at a  young age, wild animals can sometimes change their nature. In fact, they can form a family bond so strong that nothing seems out of the ordinary, even if it looks that way!

Below are three amazing, but unusual, animal friendships formed between orphaned animals and their childhood companions.

Prince and Chobi

Original Source: Daily Mail

Dogs and cats have are known to be natural enemies, but not these two… Prince, the Sussens’ family pet dog, has a very special playmate – a wild lioness called Chobe. Chobe comes over to the family property at Tshukudu Game Reserve in Limpopo, and gently roughs up her playmate on a regular basis.

The lioness actually grew up with Prince. They met when Chobe was adopted as an orphan cub by the Sussens family. The two animals got along great and became best friends. Then, when Chobe was old enough, the sad but exciting day came to release her back into the wild. She learned to hunt for her food and survive in her new life as a wild lion. Prince thought he had seen the last of feline friend. However, much to Prince’s delight, she never forgot him, and she still finds time in her busy schedule to regularly pop in and play with her old pal.

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The BLT brotherhood

Original Source: Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary

No, not a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, but a bear, lion and tiger! Baloo, the American black bear, Leo, the African lion, and Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger met under very sad circumstances. They were discovered as cubs in 2001 in a drug raid. Only a few months old, they were discovered by police in a drug lord’s basement; terribly neglected and malnourished. Leo had a wound on his nose from being confined in a small crate, and Baloo underwent surgery to remove a harness which his skin had started grow over because it had not been adjusted as he grew. During Baloo’s surgery, Leo and Shere Khan paced and vocalised their distress at being separated from their friend. However, they have not been separated since.

The three animals now live together at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Georgia, USA. When observing the bear, tiger and lion, there is no doubt that they love each other like family. They eat, sleep, play and groom each other affectionately all day long. Apart from Leo’s scar, they are now all healthy and happy. The deep bond formed as cubs has grown into a strong, but unlikely, brotherhood between the three animals.

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Bella and Bubbles  

Original Source: Huffington Post

Just when you thought animal friendships couldn’t get any stranger, here is proof that size doesn’t matter when it comes to friendships… especially when you are crazy about the same sport, like these two.

Bubbles was a rescue elephant whose family was killed for ivory. At three-years-old, she was taken in by the Myrtle Beach Safari Centre for Endangered Animals. Bella was just a puppy when she was also abandoned at the centre by her owner, who was building a pool for Bubbles. The two animals instantly discovered their shared love for water. Bella also discovered her big friend made an excellent springboard and ball thrower.

Today they spend their time playing, swimming and walking together, and are almost inseparable.

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Ndumu River Lodge
Donna Van Wyk

Hi, I'm Donna. I am fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time travelling all over the world and also some of Southern Africa. Currently I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Cape Town, and I'm enjoying every moment of being here. I love the outdoors, keeping active and I'm always on the lookout for a new adventure.