You might think unusual animal friendships are the stuff of fiction, fairy tales, children’s stories, or Disney cartoons. In real life, animals that would fight until one became the other’s lunch would never become friends, right? Doesn’t the law of the jungle state that no carnivore will ever pass on an opportunity to eat prey? Maybe, but now and then, nature throws a curveball.
People in a village near Patok, Albania trapped a wolf and had been keeping it in a pen for several years. This was totally illegal, but they wanted a local curiosity. Of course, keeping the wolf fed was an ongoing problem. But at one point, it looked like that problem would be solved for awhile. Someone in the village had an old donkey that was no longer able to do any farm work. Some other villagers came up with what they thought was a bright idea: put the old donkey in with the wolf and let nature take its course. We might question the humanity or good taste of doing this, but the villagers decided to give it a try.
The poor donkey was herded into the wolf’s pen and then everyone got a big surprise. They expected the wolf to promptly kill and eat the donkey, enjoying the feast of his life. Instead, the wolf immediately made friends with the donkey! The cause of this un-wolf-like behavior is a complete mystery. It could be that the wolf, who had been so badly mistreated himself, was sympathetic to the donkey, seeing it as a kindred spirit. Word of what happened got around and petitions started circulating. In due course, the Albanian Ministry of the Environment ordered the wolf released. As for the donkey, it was transferred to a greener pasture to enjoy its golden years. It’s said that the wolf comes to visit from time to time, always with friendly intentions.