In the wild, the little zebra called Modjadji and the baby rhino called Daisy would probably have never met, let alone make friends. But at the Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary, the two orphaned animals have made an unusual friendship and are helping each other heal.
Daisy was found by rangers alone and struggling in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves. The little rhino was just a few hours old (she still had her umbilical cord attached) and fighting for her life, so she was immediately rushed to the sanctuary’s intensive care unit. While the exact cause of her abandonment is unknown, she was discovered during a “devastating week” when poachers killed dozens of rhinos in just a matter of days. Rhino calves are often left behind after their mothers’ horns are harvested by poachers to be shipped to Asian countries such as China, where they are in high demand.
Whatever the cause, Daisy definitely needed round-the-clock care and feeding to boost her immune system and help her maintain a healthy body temperature.
But Daisy wasn’t the only recently orphaned baby animal at the sanctuary.
“Modjadji was admitted to the sanctuary’s ICU at the end of November after being found motionless and barely breathing on the reserve after heavy rains and storms,” Louwhen Bowker, media contact for Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary, told The Dodo. “Modjadji was thought to be just a week old.”
The two baby orphans soon made close friends, healing and comforting each other.
“As they grew stronger and braver, their curiosity got the best of them, and they started interacting with each other,” Bowker said. “Rhinos are very social animals and require companionship. Modjadji is fantastic company for Daisy and very affectionate towards her.”
After spending a month together, the two orphaned animals are more like sisters. Wherever you find one of them, the other isn’t far behind.
“They cuddle together at night, which gives Daisy comfort and security,” Bowker explained. “[Modjadji] is a friend that can be with her 24/7, and this, in turn, helps to prevent too much human contact with Daisy.”
One day, the two little orphans will hopefully be able to run free and meet other rhinos and zebras. For now, however, all they need is each other, proving that friendship between bros (sorry, sisters) trumps everything else.
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