While humans tend to shy away from people that don't quite fit their perception of 'normal,' animals are different. Time and again we hear about alliances being formed between the most unusual species. The most recent heartwarming tale comes the zoo in Tbilisi, Georgia where a female rhino named Manuela has bonded with the resident donkeys.
The chain of events leading to this unusual friendship began earlier this year when Manuela lost her mate. The severely distraught animal dealt with her sorrow by becoming increasingly aggressive towards other animals as well as her caretakers.
Fortunately, the zookeepers realized what was ailing Manuela and decided to try to ease her emotional pain by introducing her to other animals in the hope that she would forge a friendship. They started with the resident zebras. The striped animals, however, proved to be too aggressive and had to be taken away. Then came the goats. But that relationship did not last long either because the hoofed animals got scared of the rhino and bolted from the enclosure.
As a last resort, the caretakers brought in the zoo's three resident donkeys. To their astonishment, the two unlikely animals instantly took to each other. Since the introduction, Manuela has become serene and placid, and the four now share a peaceful existence, with the rhino even rushing to the youngest donkey's defense whenever anyone comes near it.
This is not the first time the zoo has succeeded in helping forge an unusual friendship. When Shamba, a beautiful rare white lion cub who was being neglected by his mother needed a friend, they brought in a puppy, and the two are now inseparable - that relationship, however, may change as Shamba grows up!