Samantha the gorilla and panda the Dutch rabbit are an odd pair.
Erie Zoo officials introduced the two in mid-February after deciding that Samantha, a 47-year-old western lowland gorilla, ought to have a companion.
She’s been without any other presence in her exhibit since Rudy, a male gorilla, died in 2005 at the age of 49. Those two never did interact much; Sam was hand-raised and relates more to humans than to other gorillas.
She’s too old and fragile to be paired with another gorilla now, zoo officials said. But she needs the same thing any human does: a friend.