Samantha, a 47-year-old western lowland gorilla at the Erie Zoo, has been all alone since her companion Rudy passed away in 2005. Zookeepers decided to try and alleviate her loneliness by giving her a pet: Panda the Dutch rabbit.
Initially cautious, the keepers introduced them in increments before leaving Panda alone with Samantha (keeping an escape hatch open just in case). But their concern quickly abated as the two took to each other right away.
Samantha's handlers say they aren't worried as she's never expressed anything but fondness toward Panda. Still, they say the bunny is more than capable of holding his own.
"He's fearless," says the zoo's chief executive, Scott Mitchell. "He's not threatened by her. More often they're closer together than they are farther apart."
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