She may be big, hairy and weigh over 90kg but this female gorilla is as cuddly as a kitten.
While many people would run a mile if they came face to face with Fran, the Â western lowland gorilla in the wild, but she really is a big softy with one unusual best friend…. a baby duckling!
The unlikely pair met after the baby duck escaped into the ape’s zoo enclosure.
Visitors to the Bronx Zoo in New York were left stunned with bated breath as the tiny fragile bird hopped about just inches from the massive primate.
With gorillasÂ characterised as aggressive creatures that will batter anything in their path, the anxious onlookers watched on in stunned silence, fearing the worst…
Turns out the rapidly building stress and tension of the crowd was all in vain. Instead of destroying the vulnerable chick, the four-and-a-half foot gorilla became fascinated by the adorable duckling and gently inspected its new friend with a nearby stick.
It was clear to see that Fran, the 15-year-old female ape, enjoyed the company of it’s new miniature pal and happily let it waddle close by before the timid zookeepers hastily removed it.
Although massive muscular gorillas such as Fran are often portrayed as ferocious, dangerous killers, the truth of the matter is they are shy, peaceful vegetarians.
Like any female species it is when they get scared or are protecting her young that she becomes a threat, other than that she will let her maternal instincts shine though.
Lucky wildlife Photographer Tom Warren, 51, was fortunate enough to be in the right places at the right time and was able to whip out his camera and start clinking away, capturing theÂ astonishing rare intimate moment.
He said: ‘I went to the zoo and quickly became aware of a commotion in the gorilla exhibit, as many of the school children were yelling “ducky, ducky!”
‘We all watched with amazement as the little duckling wandered around the exhibit, while the gorillas either backed away from it or inspected it with curiosity.
‘Then I spotted the duckling on the log next to a seemingly, amused gorilla.
‘The duckling did not seem the least bit intimidated and for good reason, as Africa’s gentle giants eat mostly fruits and plants.
‘How fortunate I was to witness a wonderful moment between two unlikely friends.
‘I held my breath and was able to fire off a few frames, knowing that the moment that I was witnessing was a very special one.’
All together now… AHHHH!