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Tag: tarra

Unlikely Animal Friends: Tarra and Bella

Our old friends Tarra, the elephant, and Bella, the dog, who bonded at an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, are featured on Unlikely Animal Friends, a one-hour special that airs tonight at 8 on the National Geographic Channel.

The special asks the questions: Can animals really build friendships with other species, people, or even their own prey? How do these odd couples come to be? And what do they gain from these improbable companionships?

The answers come in video footage — some old, some new — that’s bound to warm your heart, and maybe provide a little hope: If mortal animal enemies can reach detente, peace, friendship even, maybe we humans could, too, if we really put our minds to it.

Other duos featured tonight are a baby hippo who chooses a giant tortoise as a surrogate parent, a lion who instantly recognizes two men a year after their last encounter, a cat and crow that have become inseparable, a dog and orangutan, and a lioness who turns down an easy kill in favor of nurturing when she comes across a baby oryx.

Though some of the couples have appeared on ohmidog! in the past, the National Geographic Channel examines the relationships in a lot more depth than the average YouTube video.

In case you miss it, we’ll be posting clips of each of the duos in the week ahead.

Tarra and Bella nix Disney offer

Remember Tarra and Bella, the elephant and dog who became steadfast friends at a Tennessee animal sanctuary?

Here’s a new development that’s almost as refreshing as the original story. After the report by Steve Hartman aired at CBS, The Elephant Sanctuary, located outside of Nashville, was deluged with calls and offers.

“The pair showed such devotion, such tenderness and trust, it was almost hard to believe,” Hartman reports in this update. “The whole story seemed like a Disney movie to a lot of people – including people at Disney.”

Disney pitched a live action movie that would star Tarra or another trained elephant. Scott Blais and Carol Buckley, cofounders of the sanctuary, answered with a resounding no.

“It just goes against the core of who the sanctuary is,” Blais said.

“We don’t want them to be in those environments where they’re dominated and trained to perform for people,” Buckley said.

As Hartmann summed up: “Here at the sanctuary, they’ve got this crazy idea that animals — elephants especially — aren’t just here to serve us. They honestly believe that some animals are here for the same reasons we are — to love and do for others, whether it’s appreciated or not.”

Well said, Steve-O.

While Tarra and Bella won’t be going to the big screen, they will be showing up in picture book. It will be coming out Sept. 8, and profits will be used to support the sanctuary.

To find out more about it, click here.

The original story of Tarra and Bella was one of most popular videos of all time at CBSNews.com, so it deserves an encore:


Watch CBS Videos Online

The art of the elephant

Don’t worry. We’re not becoming ohmielephant!, but after your response to Bella the dog and Tarra the elephant, we thought we’d share another amazing elephant story one with you.

This elephant, according to the information posted on YouTube with the video, was rescued from abusive treatment in Burma, and now makes a living as an artist in Thailand.

Her mahout talks to her throughout the process and rewards her with sugar cane and banana as she uses her trunk to paint.

The video was posted on YouTube by Exotic World Gifts, which supports, “Starving Elephant Artisans” by selling their paintings so they can continue to have a new life in Thailand.

“Some Thai elephant experts believe that the survival of the Asian elephant species will most likely depend on the good treatment of the elephants in well managed privately owned elephant camps,” the website says. “All of us would prefer that all of the elephants be free to be in the wild. For many reasons, that is not possible at this time.”

To see more elephant art, and learn more about the program, visit exoticworldgifts.com

Tarra and Bella, previsited

The special bond between an elephant and a dog in Tennessee has captured the attention of humans — if the number of web hits I’ve been getting since posting Steve Hartman’s CBS News report is any indication.

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has been flooded as well — “with high fives and uncounted media offers,” according to its website.

Tarra, an elephant, and Bella, a stray dog the sanctuary took in, have enjoyed each other’s company for years. When Bella suffered a spinal cord injury a few months ago, Tarra — despite having 2,700 acres to roam, stood vigil outside the sanctuary office, where Bella was recuperating.

The CBS report didn’t provide any details of how Bella was injured, but that’s addressed on the sanctuary’s website.

“Since Bella and Tarra’s recent television exposure, a lot of people have asked how the spinal injury happened. When Bella was found in a shallow ravine in the elephant habitat, unable to walk, she was rushed to the veterinary hospital. X-rays revealed that she had sustained a spinal injury. The absence of deep tissue damage and puncture wounds led the veterinarian to surmise that Bella’s spinal injury was the result of an awkward twist, most likely sustained when she was running and jumping over something.”

Also on the website is the video above, filmed before the CBS visit, which we provide for those of you can’t get enough of this inter-species love story.