At the Pairi Daiza zoo in Belgium, a family of three Borneo orangutans has forged an unusual friendship with their fieldmates, a group of Asian small-clawed otters. Keepers made the decision to put these two species in a shared enclosure with hopes that they would keep each other entertained and, judging by the photographs, they were not wrong. Orangutan means “man of the forest” in Malay, which is precisely where these exceptionally intelligent primates live in the wild, with populations in Borneo and Sumatra. They share 97 percent of their DNA with humans, which explains why they share many of the same needs as people when it comes to engagement and enrichment. They’re so similar in fact, some have even been documented making human-like sounds with their own "faux language" which researchers have attempted to translate. To account for this, the Pairi Diaza zoo in Belgium has put together a rich and diverse "enrichment" program for their resident orangutans, of which they have five, which center around their keepers engaging the animals in mind games, puzzles, and physical challenges. Found you. Your turn to seek. Pascale Jones/Pairi Daiza To bolster this enrichment, the decision was made to keep their […]

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