For while together they resemble a pair of cuddly toys, they would normally live on different continents.
And when they grow up, Bam Bam is likely to be about nine times the size of his chimp pal. But the young males have been inseparable since being introduced at the Myrtle Beach Safari park in South Carolina, where they were born.
Visitors delight in watching them wrestling and playing tag. In the wild, Bam Bam would live in the wilds of North America, while Vali’s natural home is the jungle of central Africa.
Park owner Bhagavan Antle said staff decided to see whether the pair would hit it off when Bam Bam reached the same size as Vali – even though bears grow much faster than chimps.
‘We got them out there playing on a sunny day and they went on and on for hours,’ he said. ‘Neither of them wanted to quit. They would lie down and fall asleep at our feet, wake back up and start wrestling again.’
Dr Antle added: ‘Bam Bam has more power, but Vali tricks him. He will throw things at Bam Bam and run around him in circles.’
When the pair aren’t together, energetic Vali likes to help out his mum, while Bam Bam prefers a slower pace of life.
Staff are not sure how long the friendship will last as Bam Bam will quickly grow into a 56st adult bear, while Vali will reach only 9st
‘He likes nothing better than a bowl of sweet potatoes and chicken mash,’ added Dr Antle.
Staff at the safari park now wonder whether the friendship can last. An adult grizzly can weigh up to 56st, while a mature male chimp tips the scales at just 9st.
Staff are not sure how long the friendship will last as Bam Bam will quickly grow into a 56st adult bear, while Vali will reach only 9st.
By Amy Oliver dailymail.co.uk/Photo by Barry Bland
Over the last decade T.I.G.E.R.S. have donated over 200 thousand dollars, as well as time, effort and expertise, to grassroots conservation programs in Asia and Africa. The money from the Wildlife tour goes directly to help save the Endangered Wildlife Species and preserve their natural habitats. For information about T.I.G.E.R.S. visit, http://www.myrtlebeachsafari.com.