Apparently, true love really does know no boundaries, as a ram named Changmao and a doe named Chunzi at China's Yunnan Provincial Wildlife Park are going to celebrate this Valentine's Day with their very own inter-species wedding.
While their "marriage" is obviously just a publicity stunt, there reportedly does appear to be some real affection between the two animals. Chunzi licks the hair of the ram like she would a normal deer mate, and Changmao attacks any male deer that attempts to approach his chosen doe. The unusual bond can probably be explained by their unusual upbringing - born around the same time, the two animals were placed in the same pen because, as park official Liu Gencheng explained, "they were all herbivores."
These interspecies relationships aren't unheard of, particularly at zoos where different species are raised in such extraordinary proximity to one another. But what makes this particularly unusual is the apparent inter-species romance — and in case this looks simply platonic to you, I should point out there are also photos of Changmao mounting Chunzi, but I went with the nuzzling photo because it's cuter, dammit. In any event, their relationship has seen some rough patches, as the BBC recounts:
But Changmao has not been exactly faithful to Chunzi. He fathered a baby lamb with the zoo's only female sheep. That was why zoo officials decided to separate the ram and the doe in November last year. However, when zookeepers put Changmao with his lamb and its mother, he became violent. Chunzi, for her part, squeezed through the fence to be near him.
Still, it would appear that true love, no matter how bizarre or inexplicable, really does conquer all, and these two lovebirds — or, more accurately, one loveram and one lovedoe — have years of marital bliss ahead of them. Just as soon as someone actually explains the concept of marriage to them, I guess.
Via BBC News. Image by AFP.