updated 06/17/2014 AT 9:20 AM ET
•originally published 06/16/2014 AT 12:20 PM ET
Zoo animals in Georgia’s capital are not allowed to be lonely, even if it means they end up with rather unusual companions.
A female rhinoceros called Manuela has made friends with donkeys after failing to hit it off with zebras and goats. Also making a special friend: a lion cub who was neglected by his mother and has now bonded with a puppy.
Tbilisi Zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze said Manuela got depressed after the death of her mate and became aggressive toward her caretakers. They tried putting zebras in her enclosure, but they only returned the aggression. Then they tried goats, which ran away.
But the donkeys had an instant calming effect.
Nearby, lion cub Shamba lives happily with a puppy.
Sharashidze said they “are watching how long the friendship will last.”