Man’s best friend isn’t always a dog.
A retired postman in Turkey rescued an injured swan decades ago and they formed an unbreakable bond.
For the past 37 years, Recep Mirzan and his female swan, Garip, have gone for evening walks around the farm and enjoyed each other’s company.
The unusual pair met by chance when Mirzan took a shortcut and noticed the injured swam in an open field. Garip had a broken wing and wouldn’t be able to escape from predators, so Mirzan took her home.
“Since I love animals, I said to myself that I should take her home instead of leaving her as prey to foxes,” he told The Associated Press. “We got used to each other. We never separated.”
Garip not only befriended her rescuer but also made friends with the cats and dogs in the area. Their close friendship has benefited both of them.
63-year-old Mirzan is a widower without any children, except Garip, which he views as his child. Just like a true friend, she is always by Mirzan’s side and has never tried to leave. She follows her best friend around the farm as he does chores.
Garip, which means strange in Turkish, has lived much longer in the care of Mirzan than she would have in the wild. The Swan Sanctuary in the UK states, “In the wild, with all the hazards they have to live with (vandals, pollution, dogs, mink, overhead cables, bridges, pylons, lead poisoning, fishing-tackle injuries etc), an average lifespan would be 12 years. In a protected environment this figure can reach 30 years.”
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The friendly bird appears to be a whooper swan. The way to distinguish between mute or whooper swans is by the color of their beaks. Whooper swans have a black bill with a large triangular patch of yellow (like Garip’s), while mute swans have an orange bill with a black base and a black knob.
Garip is showing the world that swans not only epitomize love but friendship as well.
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