A baby emu, goat and goose have become best friends at a Wiltshire animal centre

Taz the baby emu was abandoned by his parents

Natasha Preskey
Friday 02 April 2021 16:34

A baby emu rejected by its parents has become best friends with a goat and a goose at an animal centre in Wiltshire.

Taz had to be hand-reared after his parents turned their backs on him.

But he’s found companionship in unlikely places, bonding with Alfred the kid (one of six goats born around the same time as Taz) and goose chick Wiggle at Caenhill Countryside Centre in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Caroline Le Bourgeois, the charity’s creative director, said: "Taz was hatched in an incubator.

"This little one here is Alfred and unfortunately his mum didn’t have enough milk.

"We started feeding him and Alfred thinks we are his parents so these two are best friends now because they spend all their time with us.

"As you can see we don’t force them to be here, they’re here because they like each other’s company."

The trio are all very protective of each other, and the goats let Taz and Wiggle weave in and out of their legs.

The three animals are very protective of each other

Chris Franklin, who runs Caenhill Countryside Centre with his wife Ellie, said: "It’s so lovely and wholesome to see them playing together.

"They seem to get on really well and have a special bond."

The trio has a ‘special bond’

According to a 2014 study, our brains start to recognise “cute” features like these when we are as young as three.

Toddlers view babies, kittens and puppies as “cuter” than their grown-up counterparts, according to a study by the University of Lincoln.

Cute traits, termed “baby schema” by psychologists, are key to encouraging care-giving behaviour in adults.

Previous research had already demonstrated that adults are perceptive of infantile traits, which elicit affectionate behaviour and reduce aggression.

But it wasn’t clear at what stage in our development this intuition first emerges, and how it relates to human interactions with animals.

Marta Borgi, from the University of Lincoln, who led the research, said: “We already knew that adults experience this baby schema effect, finding babies with more infantile features cuter.

"Our results provide the first rigorous demonstration that a visual preference for these traits emerges very early during development."

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