Best of friends

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This was sent to me by a friend and I just couldn’t resist putting it on here!

The story of Emily and Rishi…

In a crawling race across the grass they’re evenly matched. But Emily Bland will need a little practice before taking on her new friend at tree-climbing.
The little girl, two, met one-year-old orangutan Rishi at an animal centre while visiting with her father. They took to each other straight away and spent hours tumbling about and having a tea party. Emily poured while Rishi waited patiently, gripping his spoon in a hairy fist.

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On all fours: A delighted Emily plays with her best new friend Rishi

Emily’s father Barry Bland, 38, a photographer, said: ‘I had come along to the institute to photograph Rishi and I thought it would be good to bring Emily.
‘Almost as soon as we arrived, Rishi had an instant chemistry with Emily. They looked completely content with each other.’

The friendship came as no surprise to those in charge of Rishi’s home, The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I…G.E.R.S) in Miami.

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How sweet, a kiss for Emily, whose father says the pair hit it off instantly

Dr Bhagavan Antle: ‘Orangutans are intelligent and certainly the most friendly apes on the planet. ‘The youngsters enjoy their playtime and are always looking for an opportunity experience new things and make new friends and monkey around. ‘Rishi, who is the youngest of the family, is always looking for someone to play with. ‘That’s where Emily stepped in to provide a playmate to swing in the trees, have tea with, and go for a ride. ‘All infants have the capacity to get along and as youngsters the barriers between species appear to disappear.’ Orangutans are one of the most endangered species on earth. Recent expansion of palm oil plantations and over logging of their forests in Borneo and Sumatra have created a rapidly declining habitat for these great apes..

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Emily takes her new friend for a stroll

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One lump or two Rishi? The pair enjoy afternoon tea

‘Rishi was brought over to T.I.G.E.R.S from Jungle Island because he was a young boy,’ says Dr Antle. ‘He couldn’t stay with his father or the other male orangutans in the habitat because they throw the boys out. ‘But he is now been fully accepted into his new group. He sleeps with them and he stays side by side with them he is when them all the time.’ Rishi will now stay at the institute where he will become part of the animal ambassadors program, participating in education and conservation presentations at Myrtle Beach and Jungle Island institutions…

Judging from these photos it looks as though Rishi has found a friend for life.

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