Woman That Waves At A Huge Animal From Her Car Is Not Prepared For Its Dramatic Response

When it comes to run-ins with wild animals, they’re often more scared of you than you are of them. But while it’s nice to believe that a two-ton creature with razor-sharp claws could be afraid of a walking bag of flesh, some people learned firsthand that this isn’t always the case.

A woman visiting a drive-through zoo in northeastern Washington had no fear as she and her companion pulled up to one of the preserve’s most dangerous residents. But as she reached her hand out of her vehicle and waved, the creature reacted in the most unexpected of ways — and left her with a story she’d never forget.

For some people, zoos really are their only chance to see animals that aren’t pigeons or housepets. But that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their fair share of danger, as one woman quickly discovered.

In some cases, zoos can also be beneficial for the animals that live there, as they provide stable environments free of predators. For endangered animals, this kind of controlled environment can even lead to regrowth of dwindling populations.

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Yet zoos remain a controversial subject. In places without animal regulations, the inhabitants may suffer serious abuse in environments ill-fitted to meet their complex needs.

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But perhaps the biggest qualm against zoos is the actual nature of the zoos themselves. By keeping wild animals confined in small spaces for the amusement of guests, zookeepers deprive them of their freedom — the very thing that makes them so remarkable.

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But with no sign of this ethical gray area surrounding zoos clearing up any time soon, some try to meet in the middle and mediate the controversy. In fact, one Washington zoo has made a name for itself by doing just that.

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At the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, WA, visitors can get up close and personal with a variety of animals in their natural habitats. As guests drive through the preserve, non-predatory animals will approach, allowing you to feed, photograph, and even pet them.

For those animals that get a little too “playful” with visitors, a small fence separates them from the road, allowing guests to observe them from a distance. Despite these precautions, however, some of the residents still interact with admirers.

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One YouTuber learned this firsthand as he and his companion made their way through the preserve. Taking time to visit each enclosure, they took a particular interest in the fenced-off area holding a group of Kodiak bears.

As one of the largest living species of bear, these enormous furballs are quite the sight, which is likely what drew the pair to their enclosure in the first place. But as they made their way along the edge of the exhibit, they spotted something that made their jaws drop.

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It was the biggest bear they’d ever seen! The gigantic Kodiak was seated right on the other side of the enclosure’s fence, though with its massive size it easily could’ve climbed over. Still, that didn’t stop the man and his companion from pulling up to take a closer look.

From the smile on the passenger’s face, it was clear the pair was more excited by the bear than scared of it. So, instead of merely observing the wild animal and heading on their way, they decided to share some good vibes with their new furry friend.

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Reaching out the window, the woman began waving at the enormous creature, hoping the bear would somehow understand the gesture. As it turns out, it did, though the woman surely never expected what came next.

homefry815 / YouTube

For a moment, the animal just sat there, watching blankly as the woman flapped her hand from the safety of her vehicle just a few yards away. Was the bear simply watching the strange sight out of curiosity, or was he quietly calculating his next move?

homefry815 / YouTube

Well, they got their answer, as without warning, the bear fell back on its haunches and reared into the air. The Kodiak looked primed for an attack, but as the passenger quickly pulled her arm back into their vehicle, the bear caught both of them completely by surprise.

homefry815 / YouTube

With a quick flick of the wrist, the bear returned the wave with one of its own, sending the two riders off with huge smiles on their faces and one incredible memory! But did the bear really know what it was doing?

homefry815 / YouTube

Bears are famously social creatures and are known to habituate with humans much as they do with their own kind. By this logic, it certainly isn’t farfetched to think that the bear meant the wave as a gesture of passivity or welcoming.

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On the other hand, most of the animals at the Olympic Game Farm are regularly hand-fed loaves of wheat bread by humans. By mimicking homefry815’s passenger, the bear may have seen this as a way to earn food as a reward.

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Whatever the reason, people just can’t enough of the adorable waving bear, as the video of the interaction has been viewed by almost 20 million users. And believe it or not, the other bears at the preserve have begun to follow suit.

Now, guests who wave at any of the bears at the Olympic Game Farm can expect a friendly wave back (at the price of a piece of bread, of course). With their bellies full and all this attention, it’s no wonder these bear look so happy!

Olympic Game Farm

Amazingly, bears are also known to form interspecies relationships with animals besides humans. In fact, some of these creatures have even taken to bonding with animals a fraction of their size.

An example of this occurred just recently at the Berlin Zoo, where employees were shocked and confused when they saw a small cat roaming the enclosed home of an Asiatic bear named Mäuschen.

Mäuschen was one of the most popular animals at the Berlin Zoo. Her size and strength were well known among staff and visitors alike.

The cat was first seen early one morning by an employee while they were making sure Mäuschen had enough food. They were startled when they saw the cat inside sitting on one of the tree branches.

Once Mäuschen the bear noticed the little cat in her domain, things quickly changed. As Mäuschen began to slowly approach her, the tiny feline jumped down onto the ground…

To everyone’s surprise, Mäuschen was instantly smitten with her small new friend – who zoo staff decided to name Muschi – and the two quickly became inseparable. However, that wasn’t the strangest part…

In 2007, the Berlin Zoo decided to expand Mäuschen’s enclosure. This meant that Mäuschen and Muschi needed to be separated while construction was happening, which posed quite an odd reaction between the two.

Mäuschen and Muschi actually became visibly upset by the new arrangement! Zoo workers felt terrible keeping these new pals apart – Muschi would even sit outside Mäuschen’s cage and cry all night.

Finally, after the renovations on Mäuschen’s new enclosure were complete, the two animals were reunited. Their rekindled friendship quickly began to draw some serious attention…

Visitors from everywhere came to watch the unique relationship between the unlikely pair develop. But where did Muschi even come from in the first place?

The origin of Muschi was unknown, but more mysterious was the reason behind her attraction to Mäuschen. Workers said it felt as though the two were meant to meet.

Mäuschen and Muschi are a reminder that, despite our differences, friendships can bloom anywhere! But they’re actually not the only unlikely zoo pair around…

Oddly enough, the friendship that formed at the Berlin Zoo wasn’t the first time a massive bear befriended a teeny feline. The same thing happened at the Folsom City Zoo sanctuary in California.

A black cat, whom workers named Little Bear, suddenly appeared in the zoo’s bear enclosure. Of course, people were immediately worried for the cat’s well-being, but the two species seemed to actually enjoy each other’s company.

The cat would sneak in every morning and eat the food the zoo workers left out for the massive bears. When they realized what she was doing, they started leaving cat food for her, as well.

Jill Faust, the senior lead zookeeper at Folsom City Zoo, had never seen anything like it before in her life. Although the pair was highly unusual, Jill wanted her workers to foster the relationship as best they could.

Little Bear took a particular interest in one of the zoo’s largest animals: a 550-pound black bear named Sequoia. Though she had never been very aggressive, the workers still had to look out for the cat’s safety.

One of the benefits of having Little Bear around was that she actually increased foot traffic at the sanctuary. People came from all over to witness the unusual, but adorable, friendship the two animals formed.

For most of the day, Little Bear simply reclined in the shade provided by the enclosure’s trees, watching as her pal Sequoia and the other bears went about their business. It was like she was one of them!

Little Bear loved all the attention she got from visitors. She felt as comfortable at the zoo as any other animal would, despite hanging around creatures so large.

From day one, Little Bear acted as if she belonged right there in the bears’ enclosure. Like Muschi and Mäuschen, this feline-ursine pair was almost too adorable to handle!

These friends have already gotten through so much, there’s no doubt their bond will continue to strengthen as time goes by. It’s incredible to witness just how two completely different creatures can make such a connection, and it’s not even just bears…

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In November 2016, a baby southern white rhino—who would come to be known as Nandi—faced an impossible situation: her mother had been killed by poachers, and at just two months old, she was completely alone and unable to fend for herself.

Given the circumstances, Nandi struggled to survive. She didn’t have a mother to show her what to eat, so the desperate baby rhino filled her belly on sand. Pending a miracle, it was clear she wouldn’t be long for the world.

Helping Rhinos

But Nandi fought long enough, and eventually, that miracle came. Rescuers came across the severely dehydrated rhino in the nick of time and rushed her to the Rhino Orphanage, a Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation-supported non-profit company in South Africa.

The Rhino Orphanage / Facebook

At the orphanage, Nandi was given milk under the watchful eye of her caretaker, Jamie Traynor. Charged with her well-being, Jamie ensured the rhino received all she needed. She even slept alongside the rhino at night! But would it be enough?

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation / Facebook

After all, Nandi had been through a lot, and all that sand in her belly posed serious health risks. Nevertheless, if she were going to recover, the Rhino Orphanage was her best chance.

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Day by day, thanks to Jamie and the Orphanage’s dedicated efforts, Nandi’s vitals improved. She started eating solid food—not sand!—and she was drinking plenty of water. She even made a few friends!

Her first friend, of course, was Jamie herself! Every day, the caretaker took the little white rhino on a walk, so the two had plenty of time to bond. But their relationship was a bit more playful, too.

Paul Oxton / YouTube

For example, Nandi loved chasing Jamie around the grounds! “She’s a little rhino with a big attitude and has given Jamie many bruises already” from playing, a Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation spokesman said. But Jamie wasn’t the only friend the rhino loved to play with…

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While Jamie may have been dubbed “The Rhino Whisperer,” she actually rescued and cared for another species of animal, too—and it was one that she would soon introduce to Nandi.

Jamie Traynor Blog

Jamie had rescued Mewie the cat when he was just a few weeks old. The cat followed her wherever Jamie went around the Rhino Orphanage, so she was bound to bump into Nandi sooner or later. But would they get along?

Sure enough, during her time spent recovering, Nandi came face-to-face with Mewie—and it didn’t take long for her to find out she had a few interests in common with the handsome feline!

“They get along pretty well because they both love to go for walks,” Jamie said. “Mewie needs to be carried back from the walks because he gets too tired!” But that was alright because then the two could participate in another favorite activity…

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation / Facebook

Nandi and Mewie bonded over a mutual adoration for naps! But since rhinos typically only sleep about eight hours per day compared to a cat’s 12, Mewie had to clock in his additional hours on the side.

With her new friends by her side, Nandi took massive strides towards her recovery. In fact, with her general demeanor, psychology, and health trending upwards, caretakers hoped she might be able to someday return to the wild! But then there was a hiccup…

In February 2017—just a few months after Nandi’s initial rescue—poachers raided the Rhino Orphanage. They were hunting for valuable ivory tusks… and they were willing to kill to get them. As a result, Nandi was in serious danger.

Thankfully, Nandi survived the poacher attack, but Jamie knew she wouldn’t be safe at the Rhino Orphanage anymore. Complicating matters was that the orphaned rhino still wasn’t ready to be released into the wild just yet. Authorities mulled over what to do with her…

The Orphanage opted to transfer Nandi—as well as another rhino named Storm—to a more secure facility called Zululand Rhino Orphanage. In March 2017, Jamie and Mewie officially said goodbye to their friend, Nandi.

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

Though saying goodbye was sad, it was a wise decision. And thanks to Jamie’s great care and Mewie’s friendship, in May 2018, the Zululand Rhino Orphanage found Nandi fit enough to return to the wild!

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

On the day she was released, the orphaned white rhino—along with her newest friend, Storm—was nervous to leave the sheltered facility. They spent multiple days standing at the gate, unwilling to venture out into the wild on their own.

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

Eventually, though, she and Storm stepped out of the fenced-in orphanage, and for the first time in their lives, they were completely free. And it was all thanks to the friends they’d made along the way!

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

Rhinos aren’t often seen as playful animals, but then again, you haven’t seen Nandi yet! Just watch her having the time of her life as she plays with Jamie. This sure was a rhino that couldn’t be kept down for long!

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