MYRTLE BEACH, SC- Socastee is home to a world famous orangutan named Suryia. He’s 11 years old and he’s known to form unlikely bonds with other animals. Most recently, he’s taken on the role of babysitter to a litter of tiger cubs.
“Monkey see, monkey do.”
That’s how Myrtle Beach Safari Director Dr. Bhagavan Antle explains the relationship between a family of orangutans and a group of baby tigers living on his preserve.
“They see us caring for them, giving them bottles, wiping them off with a wipe, picking up after them, they emulate that,” said Antle.
He calls them ‘ape nannies’ and he says Suryia is the most active. This viral video shows Suryia coddling, feeding and playing with tiger cubs.
“He is very special, he’s very smart and he enjoys being around the other animals,” described Antle.
Baby tigers require a lot of attention, according to Antle.
“They need your hands on them they need to be fed every few hours and they need that warmth comfort and attraction of being around you,” he said.
Antle told News 13 orangutan translates to ‘men of the forest’ and he said the species is very similar to humans. When they hear a tiger cub whimpering, they feel the need to help.
“Orangutan also believe in sharing and will hand over food and treats to neighbors around them,” said Antle.
The video of Suryia already has over 1 million views on YouTube, which Antle said isn’t surprising.
“I think it lends hope and joy to people to see something fabulous happening,” he said. “They see it as an insight into how things could be if we all got along.”
In addition to being a YouTube sensation, Suryia has three books about his friendship with Roscoe the Hound.