Being best friends means it doesn’t matter your age, sex, or social standing. And apparently, species also isn’t a factor. This was the case with a cheetah cub and his puppy best friend. A 4-month old cheetah cub named Solo has bonded and become best friends with a puppy named Zama, an adopted border collie cross Belgian Malinois.
At the Canberra’s National Zoo in Australia, Solo was born alone, which is very rare for the animal. It also explains his name. Then his mother had trouble producing milk for her cub, so zookeepers Aline Ijsselmuiden and Kyle Macdonald helped in raising Solo. They would take care of the cub during the day and they would even wake up three times a night just to feed him.
But soon, the zookeepers realized that the cub needed a friend to teach him animal social skills, and it was something that humans could not do. So they contacted a private dog breeder to get Solo a companion. That’s when Zama was introduced to his new best friend. Not only is Zama of comparable age, but the dog will also grow up to be the same size as Solo. This was important because they wanted Zama to keep up with Solo as they grew up.
“Solo has learned from Zama and loves her — if she’s not around, he will call for her,” Ijsselmuiden said. “Having a best friend/puppy will help his development, so it’ll allow him to play and run around as they would normally as he can’t do that with us.”
The zookeepers plan to let the friendship between the two animals develop. Once they outgrow their relationship, Zama will be adopted into a regular home. Zama and Solo can be viewed through private tours or by guests of the zoo. But they will be moved to the public in the next few months.