Koala and wombat become inseparable best friends during lockdown at Australian zoo

It’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t been the most inspiring year. From the devastating Australian bushfires at the beginning of the year to our ongoing COVID-19 crisis, everything seems to be pretty grim.

But one inspiring animal friendship shows that hope can be found from the darkest situations.

The coronavirus pandemic has closed the doors on most businesses, including those that care for animals like zoos and sanctuaries. Australian Reptile Park, in New South Wales, went into lockdown for the past four months.

But behind closed doors, a beautiful friendship formed between a koala and a wallaby:

Hope the wombat and Elsa the koala have become unlikely best friends. It all started when park keepers cleaned out Hope’s enclosure, and briefly moved her to the koala area.

But the staff realized the two animals hit it off right away.

“Elsa and Hope were seen interacting frequently,” a park spokesperson told Insider. “Keepers would watch on in awe as the pair bonded and greeted each other with a daily Eskimo nose kiss! It didn’t take long for them to become the best of friends!” 

The staff says it isn’t that unusual for koalas and wombats to become friends: they are closely related species.

What makes their friendship special is how they had such similar upbringings. They were both hand-raised by the park.

“Hope and Elsa both had a rough start to life,” park director Liz Gabriel said. “But they are both growing into happy and healthy animals.” 

Not only is it inspiring that they became friends amidst a pandemic lockdown, but it’s also the latest ray of hope for a nation whose wildlife has been so badly decimated.

Australian Reptile Park also had some great news recently when they saw the birth of the first baby koala since the bushfires.

“Elsa and Hope are great ambassadors for Australian wildlife, and our wildlife needs all the help it can get,” park curator Haley Shute told Insider.

“It’s a very special friendship these two have formed, and I can’t wait to see it continue to blossom.” 

What a beautiful friendship! It shows that love and hope can be found at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places.

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