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In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the US in a very real way, one of the first things that changed for many people was the amount of human contact they had on any given day. Many people stopped working in crowded offices with a multitude of employees and hooked up with friends for happy hour, but instead worked from the kitchen table and only caught friends via video chat. This change made many feel isolated.

Research has shown that social connection and camaraderie have many positive benefits. Connecting with others can reduce anxiety and depression, increase self-esteem and empathy, improve our immune systems, and even help us regulate our emotions. When we cannot connect with others or when we feel isolated, our health suffers.

Over the past year, government organizations, news sources, and the media have suggested Dozens of safe and healthy ways get in touch with friends and loved ones. While many of these ideas are good and help to some extent, nothing can replace the feeling of having personal time with our loved ones. In researching the meaning and effects of camaraderie, Forklift found that humans weren’t the only animals in need of these compounds. In fact, many types of social interactions benefit. On the following slides we have put together a collection of 50 incredible images that show camaraderie in the animal kingdom.

From the strong bonds between cheetahs and dogs to the complex family units of wolves and prairie dogs, you’re sure to be surprised at how many different species can develop close social and emotional connections. And if nothing else, at least you will be encouraged by the fact that the feelings of isolation and loneliness you may experience are not anything to be ashamed of. In fact, they are firmly biologically related to us.

Read on for photos of camaraderie across the animal kingdom.

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