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Pa. zoo gives aging gorilla a bunny companion

The Erie Zoo's lowland gorilla Samantha, left, shares her space with Panda, a Dutch rabbit, at the zoo in Erie, Pa. on Thursday, March 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Erie Times-News, Greg Wohlford) Photo: Image by Erie Times-News

Pa. zoo gives aging gorilla a bunny companion

CREATED Mar 11, 2012

Web Producer: Marissa Pasquet

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - An elderly gorilla that lives at a Pennsylvania zoo has a new companion: a bunny named Panda. The Erie Zoo's gorilla, Samantha, has been without a full-time friend since the death of Rudy, a male gorilla, in 2005.

But officials say the 47-year-old western lowland gorilla is too old to be paired with another gorilla. So they opted last month to introduce her to Panda, a Dutch rabbit, last month.

The Erie Times-News ( http://bit.ly/yu3yzd) reports Samantha and Panda get along well. Samantha will gently scratch under the bunny's chin and share her food.

Officials at the zoo say Samantha has always had a gentle personality. She was hand-raised and was more comfortable around humans even when Rudy was alive.

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Information from: Erie Times-News, http://www.goerie.com
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)