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Raw: Donkeys Call Rhino Roommate at Tbilisi Zoo

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Management at the Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia used an unusual form of cohabitation in an attempt to cure animals from what they believe to be depression caused by loneliness. (June 16)

SHOTLIST:

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Tbilisi, Georgia - June 16, 2014

1. Various, rhino with donkeys

2. Mid, people watching animals

3. Mid, rhino with donkeys

4. Various, people watching animals

5. Close, donkeys with rhino in background

6. Mid, rhino with donkeys

7. Mid, people walking in zoo

8. Mid, children watching rhino and donkeys

STORYLINE:

The management at the Tbilisi Zoo used an unusual form of cohabitation in an attempt to cure animals from what they believe to be depression caused by loneliness.

A six-year-old rhino called Manuela killed her spouse in a fight. After that, the rhino appeared depressed and aggressive until zoo management found the perfect friend for Manuela.

Managers tried to put other animals like zebras and goats together with Manuela but none worked. Animals either were scared and ran away or the rhino seemed even more depressed and aggressive.

All became peaceful and calm when donkeys were put in to live with Manuela.

Three donkeys and rhino Manuela peacefully share space in the zoo. Media relations manager Mzia Sharashidze says Manuela even protects the youngest donkey when somebody enters their living space.

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