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NATURE: Animal Odd Couples

Airs Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 at 8 p.m. & Sunday, Jan. 10 at 3 p.m. on KPBS TV

Kasi (Cheetah) and Mtani (Dog)

Credit: Courtesy of © Busch Gardens

Above: Kasi (Cheetah) and Mtani (Dog)

Photo credit: Courtesy of © THIRTEEN

Pip (doe) often visits Kate, her surrogate Great Dane mother.

Photo credit: Courtesy of © THIRTEEN

Anthony (lion) licks Riley (coyote) after playing.

Related Article

Odd Couples: Compassion Doesn't Know Species Lines by Marc Bekoff Ph.D. 2012

As the most watched documentary film series on public television, NATURE delivers the best in original natural history films to audiences nationwide.

"Animal Odd Couples" - Are animals capable of feeling complex emotions? Recent observations of unexpected cross-species relationships in zoos and animal sanctuaries around the world may provide some answers. Despite the odds, there are countless stories of the most unlikely cross-species relationships imaginable: a goat guiding a blind horse; a doe who regularly visits her Great Dane surrogate mother; a juvenile gibbon choosing to live with a family of capuchins, and so on. Instincts gone awry? The subject has mystified scientists for years.

In "Animal Odd Couples," NATURE investigates why animals form these special bonds. Informed by the observations of caregivers and noted scientists Temple Grandin and Marc Bekoff, the film explores what these relationships suggest about the nature of animal emotions.

NATURE is on Facebook, Tumblr and you can follow @PBSNature on Twitter. Past episodes of NATURE are available for online viewing.

NATURE: Animal Odd Couples

NATURE: Animal Odd Couples: The Tortoise and the Goose

At Busch Gardens, a 45-year-old female Aldabra tortoise was chosen by an unlikely suitor: a male Pacific Brant goose. The unusual pair has been together for 4 years. Brant geese mate for life, and it seems that this friendship is in for the long haul.

NATURE: Animal Odd Couples: The Benefits of Friendship

Primatologist and evolutionary biologist Dr. Lauren Brent discusses her research on nonhuman primate social behavior, and what it shows about the benefits of friendship.

NATURE: Animal Odd Couples: Kate and Pip

After being abandoned by her mother, a baby fawn, Pippin, was adopted by a Great Dane, Kate, and they have been best friends ever since. Kate’s owner Isobel Springett describes the uniqueness of their relationship: “When they greet each other, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s not a deer greeting a deer. It’s not a dog greeting a dog. It’s definitely something that they have between the two of them.”

Studying the Emotional Lives of Animals

In this video short, Dr. Marc Bekoff, former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado featured in "Animal Odd Couples," on the scientific study of animal emotions, animal friendships, and the elements of the brain that allow for such bonds to form.

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