Do you believe in friendship between animals and humans? If not, discover these amazing stories of pure friend relationships. If you’ve got a story that belongs on this list, we’d love to have you write about it in the comments!
Lion behaviorist Kevin Richardson and the big cats Napoleon and Tau
Kevin Richardson was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. When he was sixteen, he began his career of a “self-taught behaviorist.” Later he went to college where he started taking courses in physiology and anatomy. He became an exercise physiologist. Kevin revealed that he never thought of working with animals. He always loved them though. He even studied zoology for two years in college, but he thought it would remain a hobby of his – nothing more. In 1997 Richardson got the opportunity to work with two six-month-old baby lions. These cubs, named Tau and Napoleon, became Kevin’s good friends and changed his life forever.
Today Richardson works as a lion behaviorist in the Lion Park in Broederstroom. He continues his bond with Tau and Napoleon who live in the park. When asked about his work and friendship with the big cats, Kevin answered: “Obviously one realizes the danger when working with animals of this caliber, I’ve weighed the pros and I’ve weighed the cons, and the pros far outweigh the cons.”
Animal trainer Mark Dumas and a polar bear named Agee
A polar bear is the largest land predator. A boar (an adult male) weights 770–1,550 lb, a sow an (adult female) is about half that size. Can you imagine the fearless person who would want to have a friend like that? – No? Then I’d like you to meet Mark Dumas. Mark is the only man in the world who can touch, hug and kiss this polar bear. He also can swim with her, and even put his head in her huge jaws. Dumas and his wife Dawn took a polar bear, named Agee, from the Swedish Zoo and transported her to Canada when she was just eight weeks old. As a cub she lived with them in the house, played with their dogs and was bottle fed. Eventually a time came when she grew so big they had to move her outside into her own courtyard near their home in Abbotsford.
Mark truly enjoys ‘play time’ with Agee. He reveals: “Earlier in the morning she’s more playful and relaxed and she lets me roll around with her. We wrestle for fun and sometimes we fall asleep on her grassy lawn together. It’s a great way to unwind after a bad day”.
Aussie fisherman Arnold Pointer and a great white shark called Cindy
One day Arnold Pointer, a professional fisherman from Australia, caught a female great white shark in his fishing nets. Somehow, he felt sorry for her and set her free. Arnold rescued a shark from a certain death. Believe it or not, but it was “the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. Since then a shark never left Arnold alone in the sea. She followed him everywhere he went. He even gave her a name – Cindy.
Arnold tells: “Once I stop the boat she comes to me, she turns on her back and let me pet her belly and neck, she grunts, rolls her eyes, and moves her fins up and down hitting the water happily…”
Chito and his croc Pocho
Another fisherman from Costa Rica Gilberto “Chito” Shedden found a dying crocodile on the banks of the Reventazón River in 1991. A local cattle farmer shot him in the head when he was preying on a herd of cows. Chito placed the crocodile in his boat and took him home. Chito named the croc Pocho, and looked after him for six months. Chito says: ‘I just wanted him to feel that someone loved him, that not all humans are bad’. When Pocho has fully recovered, Gilberto released him to a nearby river. Next morning he found the croc sleeping on his veranda. That day Pocho became a fully-fledged member of Shedden’s family, along with his wife and daughter.
Their friendship lasted about 20 years. For 10 of those years they did aquatic performances for tourists who came to see them from around the world. Pocho and Chito became world famous. Pocho died of natural causes in 2011.
Casey Anderson and Brutus the Bear
An American wildlife naturalist Casey Anderson is a star appearing on the National Geographic channel. Throughout his life Casey has been called ‘the animal magnet’ because animals always seemed to gravitate to him. But with Brutus, it seems like they picked each another. Grizzly bear Brutus has been Casey’s best friend ever since being rescued by Casey from a planned “mercy killing” at an overcrowded wildlife park when he was just 5 months old. In 2004 Anderson adopted baby bear Brutus and developed his own sanctuary as a place to raise him. In 2009 they appeared on “The Oprah Show” and became instant international celebrities.