Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tonda Dies at 50

Tonda and T.K. (Courtesy NWF Daily News)

An unusual relationship ended on March 23. Tonda the orangutan, long time resident of Zoo World in Panama City Beach, Florida, died at the age of 50. She left behind her best buddy, T.K. (Tonda's Kitty).

Several years ago, Tonda became seriously depressed after losing her mate. In an effort to improve her psychological welfare, her caretakers decided to introduce her to a stray kitten. A love affair was born. Tonda and T.K. quickly bonded, with Tonda taking on the role of surrogate mother. Their pairing became famous and was even featured on Animal Planet's Top 7 Best Animal Couples.

It is reported that T.K. deeply feels the loss of her friend. However, she'll remain at the zoo comforted by plenty of extra TLC from her human caretakers and zoo visitors.

Zoos often struggle with the issue of providing stimulation to residents that cannot roam freely as they would do in the wild. Innovative ways to improve the animal's quality of life are critical. The pairing of Tonda and T.K. is an example of a successful solution.


nlindabrit said...

So sad that the cat has lost his companion. They do a similar thing at the Redwings horse sanctuary, here in Britain. The horses and donkeys are kept in groups of friends and if one needs to go to the hospital, then they all go. Also, an animal having trouble settling will be given a friend. I have also heard of race-horses that have a friend such as a goat or sheep.

Judy said...

So sad for T.K. But what a lovely relationship while it lasted!