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Depressed Orphan Wombat Soothed By Cuddly Teddy Bear BFF

Tonka and teddy forever. <3 <3 <3

Kids aren't the only ones who feel a little better with their teddy bear by their side. This wombat does too. 

Tonka, 7, lives in Billabong Sanctuary in North Queensland, Australia, and has had a rough life. He was orphaned as a baby when his mother was hit by car. Then in 2011, a portion of the sanctuary where he lives was damaged by a cyclone. During that time Tonka lost 20 percent of his body fat and was diagnosed with clinical depression. But now, the wombat has found some comfort, in the form of his snuggly teddy bear. 

"Many orphaned animals take comfort in cuddling teddies and Tonka just never grew out of it," Samantha Sherman, who helps care for the Tonka, said in a statement. "He's really just a big baby at heart."

Kenneth B. Storey, a professor of biochemistry at Carleton University, explained that animals like Tonka who are depressed aren't all that different from humans who deal with the issue. 

"Animals that are clinically depressed likely have the same problems as do humans with the condition -- the brains of all mammals are remarkably the same," Storey told The Dodo. 

For Tonka, he finds some solace in his teddy and according to a press release, the wombat and the stuffed animal are inseparable. Tonka hangs out with his friend and takes his naps with the teddy. 

Sherman explained that because Tonka carries his stuffed animal around so much, it actually needs to be replaced often.  

"He has big teeth so over time, as he carries his teddy around, it gets some tears," Sherman said, according to the release. "The teddy doesn't have a name because he gets new ones when needed."

While the teddy may not be a walking, talking friend, caring for the stuffed animal actually requires a bit of maintenance.

"Since Billabong Sanctuary is in the tropics, the teddy needs to be cleaned to avoid any bacteria and growth, so Tonka needs a spare one."

We're pretty sure we love Tonka just as much as he loves his teddy. 

 

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