T.K. and Tonda at Zooworld, Fl. Photo from Cat ChannelAn orangutan from ZooWorld, Florida named Tonda had adopted a cat name T.K. (short for Tonda's Kitty). Tonda went into depression four years ago after her mate, Yakut died. Faced with the facts that Tonda was too old for another male orangutan and was too fragile to be moved to another location, zookeepers tried a non-conventional method ... giving her a pet cat. Drawing inspiration from Koko, the gorilla who herself had a few pet cats, zookeepers began introducing T.K. to Tonda. It was a success. T.K. had been living with Tonda for the past four years and zookeepers think that he was the reason Tonda celebrated her 50th birthday. Read the article here.
What we can draw from this example, I think, is the power of pets or companion animals. Having a companion animal when we are lonely and sad seems inherent to humans but do great apes feel the same as well? Can pets really help rehabilitate other great apes, maybe even other primates when they are depressed, sad or when they just need a companion? One thing for sure, primates DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS.