This may appear to be the most unlikely of friendships, nuzzling up together on the icy ground in the Falkland Islands. On the other hand, this herd of horses adopted a lonely penguin as one of their own and snuggled up with their curious new comrade. They were also observed racing after the bird as it flapped its wings and waddled on the white-topped turf. In the heartwarming photos, the horses craned their heads and rubbed their noses with the penguin’s beak.
Sarah Crofts of the Falkland Conservation Group snapped the photos while feeding her three horses when she saw the unique alliance. They were photographed five miles outside of Stanley, the country’s main city, at the Cape Pembrokeshire Nature Reserve.
‘At first, I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing; I think the horses were as taken aback as I was.’ I didn’t think the horses would be interested in the penguin, but I was surprised at how much they were. I’m a huge fan of horses and penguins, so it was a thrilling experience to behold.”
‘Because horses in Stanley don’t regularly interact with penguins, it must have been a wonderful treat for them. The herd initially approached the penguin carefully and with their heads low, allowing them to examine him at eye level. But it didn’t take long for the horses to gain confidence, and soon they were nose to beak; it was a magical moment.
‘The horses were truly interested in the penguin, and it seemed to turn into a game for them where they’d check him out one by one and then trot off,’ she continued.
‘After a while, it seemed as if the horses didn’t want to let the penguins go.’
The Falkland Islands is one of the world’s premier penguin breeding grounds. The islands are home to five penguin species: king, rockhopper, magellanic, gentoo, and macaroni penguins.
The island is home to around 500,000 breeding pairs of penguins as well as a diverse range of fauna.