A retired postman in northwestern Turkey has formed an unusual bond of friendship with a swan he rescued more than three decades earlier.
Recep Mirzan, 57, found the white swan lying injured in a field as he delivered letters nearly 33 years ago.
Now the pair have become inseparable with Mirzan, a widower, taking daily walks with the male swan that he has named Garip — a Turkish word that refers to a feeling of sad loneliness.
"Garip has been my helpmate for nearly 33 years," Mirzan told Anadolu Agency.
"Every day I take him for a walk for about one or two hours. He never stops following me and we converse together. I can say he became like my life partner."
Mrizan, who lives in Karaağaç near the Greek border, keeps Garip in his large back garden, which has a pond for the bird.
The swan, which is fed wheat and corn, greets Mirzan by repeatedly flapping his large wings and perching on his feet, lifting his neck high into the air to welcome his friend.
"When a stranger approaches me, he starts digging the soil with his beak and fluttering his wings," the ex-postal worker said.
"He is trying to protect me I think."
He added: "I won't leave him. The swan doesn't leave me either. Our friendship will last till I die. If he dies, I make a marble gravestone for him."
Mustafa Kaya, a professor of Biology at Edirne's Trakya University, said swans could live up to 25 years in the wild and 10 years longer when cared for in captivity.
Garip is not the only animal Mirzan looks after. Since his wife's death he has amassed a menagerie including dogs, geese and ducks.