Right now, in a sunny corner of South Carolina, more than 100 animals coexist peacefully at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species — T.I.G.E.R.S. for short. As you may have guessed from the name, many of those residents are tigers, but the preserve also plays host to tons of other animals, including orangutans, zebras, and other big cats.
Also among the institution’s residents? A variety of interspecies friendships that are unheard of in nature, including one adorable friendship between a four-ton African elephant and her best bud — an ordinary Labrador retriever.
Their friendship began when handlers at the zoo began training Bella the Labrador to swim in the elephant pool, and had the clever idea of teaching her how to dive into the water off of Bubbles the elephant’s back.
Like this sweet elephant with her own puppy companion, Bubbles grew very attached to Bella. Now, she hunches down in the water to make it easier for Bella to climb up, cuddles the dog when they’re out of the water, and has even been known to pet her with her trunk!
Bubbles is the only elephant living in the preserve. Since elephants are naturally herd animals, Bubbles seems to have adopted Bella as her very own “herd,” and Bella has adopted her right back! Check out the website, and watch the video below to learn more about their sweet friendship!
Click and share with your loved ones and fellow animal lovers!