Rhinoceros in Georgia zoo finds peace with new donkey friends; lion cub bonds with puppy

The Associated Press

In this Saturday, June 14, 2014 photo rhinoceros Manuela and a donkey in the same enclosure at the Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia. The zoo keepers tried to help Manuela the rhino who was feeling depressed by putting the donkey in the same enclosure. The strategy worked and the animals have been living peacefully together. (AP Photo/ Shakh Aivazov)

Associated Press + More

By MISHA DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI, Associated Press

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Animals in the zoo in Georgia's capital are not allowed to be lonely, even if it means they end up with rather unusual companions.

A female rhinoceros called Manuela has made friends with donkeys, after failing to hit it off with either zebras or goats, while a lion cub neglected by his mother has bonded with a puppy.

Tbilisi Zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze said Manuela got depressed after the death of her mate and became aggressive toward her caretakers. They tried putting zebras in her enclosure, but they only returned the aggression. Then they tried goats, which ran away.

But the donkeys had an instant calming effect.

Nearby, lion cub Shamba lives happily with a puppy. Sharashidze said they "are watching how long the friendship will last."

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