Image by AFP

Oh look, it’s Rick Santorum’s worst nightmare. Changmao the ram and Chunzi the doe are engaging in some sheep-on-deer marriage at China’s Yunnan Provincial Wildlife Park today, because true love knows no species, especially when you’re both even-toed ungulates who are too dumb to understand taxonomy.

This is not your standard gorilla-and-kitten Unlikely Animal Friends situation. These two are in loooooooove:

These interspecies relationships aren’t unheard of, particularly at zoos where different species are raised in such extraordinary proximity to one another. But what makes this particularly unusual is the apparent inter-species romance — and in case this looks simply platonic to you, I should point out there are also photos of Changmao mounting Chunzi, but I went with the nuzzling photo because it’s cuter, dammit.

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The animals, who were raised in the same pen, have a complicated relationship. Changmao actually sired a lamb last year with the zoo’s female sheep, but that only temporarily threatened their love — zookeepers separated the pair and put Changmao in with his new family, but he got violent and Chunzi snuck into his enclosure all “I can’t quit you, sheep.” So clearly the only thing to do is bind them in legal matrimony.

Update: Apparently I am exactly as dumb as a deer and a sheep because I managed to call BOTH of these animals “goats” at some point when I originally wrote this. I swear I do know what a goat is!

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