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After Three Years Apart, Pinetree And Peanut Are Still Made For Each Other

When elder bear Pinetree left young Peanut's side, neither knew they would be separated for nearly three years – due to years of health problems for Pinetree.

When the two bears were reunited at Animals Asia's China sanctuary in September of this year, Peanut remembered Pinetree instantly.

Photo: Animals Asia

Photo: Animals Asia

While Pinetree was being reintegrated to the bear house with Peanut, Peanut recognised his dear friend, looking at her longingly. Their bond had clearly not diminished.

When they met in 2007, Peanut was a new arrival, and Pinetree had already been with Animals Asia for six years. Over the next five years, the two formed an unlikely relationship. Though the two bears had very different personalities, they were inseparable for that time.

Photo: Animals Asia

Photo: Animals Asia

Towards the end of 2012, Pinetree hurt herself – the first in a series of injuries that would see her shuttled from bear house to hospital to special care area, in attempts to restore her mobility.

At that point, neither her carers nor Peanut realised it would take nearly three years for the two to reunite.

Photo: Animals Asia

Photo: Animals Asia

Bear Manager Ryan Marcel said:

"It was back in 2007 that Pinetree was first observed following Peanut around the enclosure. Peanut, a juvenile at the time, was also very interested in Pinetree.

"We noticed the two getting closer over the months. Pinetree tried to keep other bears away from Peanut – even though he was naturally a very friendly bear. Soon they were seen sleeping in the same basket occasionally, and spending entire days together.

"For his part, whenever another bear bothered Pinetree, Peanut would run over and protect her. Peanut would literally 'hug' any bear annoying Pinetree until they walked away.

"The two were as close as any bears at the sanctuary ­– like brother and sister, mother and son."

Photo: Animals Asia

Photo: Animals Asia

The very first day Pinetree came back to House 3 – the bear house where they shared those formative years – Peanut immediately checked on her. Even though they were in separate areas, there was still sparks between them – at least from Peanut's side. All day he stood in the baskets of the adjacent den, just watching her.

Now, as the integration period has ended, Pinetree has adjusted to House 3's new group. Although there isn't quite the same level of friendship as before, carers believe this is just a period of the two getting to know each other again.

Just as it was their destiny that both would be rescued from bile farms – both also appear made for each other.

Photo: Animals Asia

Photo: Animals Asia