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Tiger and Orangutan Babies, Enemies in Wild, Playmates at Indonesian Zoo

CISARUA, Indonesia (AP) - Call them the odd couples.

A pair of month-old Sumatran tigers has become inseparable playmates with a set of young orangutans, an unthinkable match in their natural jungle habitat in Indonesia's tropical rain forests.

The friendship between 5-month-old female baby primates Nia and Irma and cubs Dema and Manis has blossomed at the Taman Safari zoo, where they share a room in the nursery.

After being abandoned by their mothers shortly after birth, the four play fight, nipping and teasing each other, and cuddle up for a shared nap when they are worn out.

"This is unusual and would never happen in the wild," zoo keeper Sri Suwarni said Wednesday. "Like human babies, they only want to play."

The four have lived side-by-side for a month without a single act of hostility, she said.

The exceptional friendship will likely be short lived, because as the animals grow up their natural survival instincts will kick in, veterinarian Retno Sudarwati said.

"When the time comes, they will have to be separated," she said. "It's sad, but we can't change their natural behaviour. Tigers start eating meat when they are three months old."

Sumatran tigers and orangutans are endangered species, threatened by rapidly shrinking habitats.

Conservationists estimate there are fewer than 700 Sumatran tigers still alive, while fewer than 60,000 orangutans remain in the wild.

Around 90 per cent of their jungle habitat has been destroyed by illegal logging, poaching and cut-and-burn farming practices on Borneo and Sumatra islands, conservationists estimate.

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This is a little different, but:

March 1, 2007

Pete Doherty feeds weed to penguins


Pete Doherty moved in with Kate Moss after being kicked out of his east London flat where he owed $20,000 in unpaid rent. And because he needs adult supervision at all times, while visiting the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire he fed a penguin his joint. Seriously. He allegedly threw the joint into the penguin pen to show off and one of the penguins immediately swallowed it. A source says:

"Everyone knew he was smoking grass. He was joking about getting the penguins stoned. He threw them his joint and it looked like one penguin gulped it down. It seemed very wobbly."

Pete Doherty is out of control. Somebody needs to find this guy a babysitter before he eats the world's last bald eagle because he thought it would be funny. My 2-year-old niece has more self-control than him, and she thinks ice cream is the only necessary food group.

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