Some lovely photos from our friend Jo:
Rhinos are wild, large, sometimes unruly animals, but possess a peaceful, gentle side and form strong bonds just as much as any other creature. Sometimes it’s with people, often other rhinos, but occasionally it’s a bond of a more unusual nature. Such is the case with the following amazing individuals.
Fabian and Madame Gigi
Recently there was a rhino poached in the Nyaru Game Lodge in Cape Town. This was particularly painful to the Lodge as Fabian the White Rhino was a favorite among guests and employees. Fabian was the only rhino at the reserve, as the rest were already sold because of poaching concerns. But the decision to keep him was due in part to his relationship with his friend Madame Gigi, resident pug puppy.
Nyaru owner Ruan Fouché described the day they met. “Madam Gigi, still a puppy, saw Fabian and ran towards him, and there, right in front of the staff’s eyes, something remarkable clicked between the two. Sir Fabian watched, stunned and in awe, when this small black creature in her pink winter outfit approached. A lot of sniffing, huffing and puffing took place. But from that moment, the two unlikely friends became inseparable.”
“Whenever Fabian came to a visit Madam Gigi, she would run up to him, give him a lick, chew lucerne with him and play with him. He would follow her around for a while before disappearing for his daily mud spa in the bush.”
Fabian will undoubtedly be missed, by people and his special friend alike.
Omni and Digby
At the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a baby black rhino was taken from his mom who was blind, and consequently was neglecting her son. This orphan baby was named Omni and cared for by several keepers. But Omni wasn’t alone for long. He soon made a friend in a warthog, named Digby. Digby was orphaned when his mother was killed by a predator.
The two became inseparable playmates; running, licking, and playing. Digby even took it upon himself to rid Omni of his ticks, diligently grooming his friend daily. At night if anyone peered into Omni,s pen, they would see Digby asleep on top of Omni, both covered by a large blanket.
The keepers say they were always together, and were very protective of one another.
Clint and Harry
At Shamwari Game Reaserve in South Africa, lives Clint, an orphaned rhino, his mother, sadly another poaching casualty. He has gone through extensive tlc in efforts to help his survival and rehabilitation. Some of his biggest issues concerned diarrhea and absorption of nutrients from his milk. As mothers give their young bacteria in the milk to help with digestion, this is often an issue for orphaned rhino calves.
Clint was introduced to a friend to keep him company during these difficult times. His friend was Harry, the sheep. Their relationship plays a vital role in meeting the rhino’s need for socialization and companionship.
Sparky, Bebrave and Longplaying
In Zimbabwe’s Lowveld Rhino Trust, there is yet another odd friendship at hand. Originally Bebrave the black rhino was orphaned and paired with Sparky, the eland. Then another orphaned blackie came along- Longplaying, who joined to form this unique trio.
The trio are no longer together, as Sparky has joined up with other elands, but in a time when there was no one else, they had each other; for companionship, protection, and security. Isn’t that what friendship is about?
You can read more about this unique situation in the previous post by clicking here: Sparky, Bebrave and Longplaying
In the world of conservation, there are times when animal orphans find unusual companions in other species. In May, three such friends found each other and grew close. See previous post: Sparky, Bebrave and Long Playing
Here, reblogged from the International Rhino Foundation,is an update on the trio.
It is now over nine months since our last two black rhino poaching orphans, BeBrave and Long Playing, were returned to their natural home. The rainy season has started well into October and the resulting flush of new leaves is ensuring that our little rhinos are growing outwards as well as upwards.
Settling into life in the wild took our two hand raised orphans a little time to work out. Initially, they remained very close to the water point they were released at and promptly appeared from the bush at 4:30 PM daily in the hope of their routine bottle of milk. Eventually they accepted milk was no longer a part of their diet and they started to range slightly more, exploring their new home.
It did not take long for the only other black rhino in the 24,000 acres to sniff out that there was new rhino company to meet. Exactly seven days after the orphans were released, black rhino bull “Romeo” turned up at the release site water hole. An adult black rhino bull stands at close to 1.5 metres tall and weighs in at about 1,500 kilograms – so it is not surprising that three year old BeBrave decided that discretion was the better part of valor and departed the area, leaving Long Playing and Romeo alone to get to know each other.
Within a month BeBrave and Long Playing were back together again with Romeo only making occasional visits to the area to keep in contact with his young neighbors.