Bizarre bond at animal sanctuary in Dubai
A predator and its prey have defied the laws of nature to forge an unlikely friendship at the Poshpaws animal sanctuary on the outskirts of Dubai.
Showing that humans aren't the only members of the animal kingdom to demonstrate complex emotions and traits, a disabled female baboon has struck an affinitive bond with a little chicken.
The heart-warming sight of the two inseparable friends cuddling and play-fighting has caused quite a stir at the facility.
"Normally, a baboon would kill a chicken for food. But here it's playing surrogate mother to the bird. I've never seen anything like this," said Laura Glanfield, the British founder of the farm.
The baboon and the chick have been living together for two months and Glanfield said they have never shown any hostility towards each other.
Dr Reza Khan, Specialist, Public Parks and Horticulture Director is no less amused by the bizarre bond. "This is a juvenile Hamadryas baboon. It is basically not a hunter but would consume animal meat when it is available," he said.
The one-year-old female baboon was brought to the farm by an Iranian who found her in a crippled condition at a farm in Al Ruwaiya. She had developed rickets - a softening of the bones - and could not move freely. An X-ray revealed irreversible damage to her bones.
Fearing that she might be attacked by other baboons, Gladfield kept her in a wooden house overlooking a pond in a fenced area meant for swans, hens, ducks, guinea fowls, turkeys and peacocks.
The baboon struck a rapport with them. According to Glanfield the baboon spends all day with her little friends, but prefers to retire to a tree by the fence during the night.
Khan said most predators raised with prey species such as tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs and primates would not consider those playmates as food up to the time they are adults.
"If someone is raising a baboon with a chicken, dog or cat they will all become friendly for some time. This bond may continue up to adulthood provided the human being raising them always works as a referee when the powerful one wants to apply force to the weaker or prey species and they are kept separate when there is a human soul in attendance," he added