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Baby Rhino and Zebra Become Best Friends at Animal Sanctuary After Being Rescued as Orphans in the Wild

It was love at first stripe!

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Baby Rhino Zebra
Image credit: Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary

After being found as orphans in the wild and then rescued, a zebra and a rhino have developed an extraordinary bond of affinity with one another.

Daisy, a 7-month-old rhino, and Modjadji, a zebra, were both saved by an orphan animal sanctuary in South Africa. Adorable photographs depict the friendship between Daisy and Modjadji, which may have ended up saving both of their lives.

At the Care For Wild animal sanctuary in the Barberton Nature Reserve, which is located close to the border between South Africa and Eswatini, both Daisy and Modjadji were nursed back to health. Modjadji’s name translates to “rain queen.”

On their Instagram feed, the sanctuary provides frequent photo and video updates on the pair’s progress toward rehabilitation, as well as the development of their friendship.

Throughout their extended stay in the intensive care unit, the two inseparable pals were frequently captured on camera cuddling up to one another.

Footage even showed them going on walks and eating meals together.

When young Daisy arrived at the shelter in a very precarious condition, the love and comfort that Modjadji provided for her have been hailed as “life-saving.”

An appreciation post for Modjaji in January read:

“This little orphan zebra has been a life saver, always there for her rhino friend. Modjadji is still a baby herself. Just over eight weeks old, she is also drinking milk every three hours around the clock. Found alone and barely alive after heavy rains and storms, Modjadji was brought to ICU. Extremely compromised and with a severe anaemia, she received a blood transfusion from another zebra which saved her life. Now a lot stronger, Modjadji watches over our littlest rhino orphan and we love her so much!”

Daisy the rhino was saved during a routine operation that took place in the Kruger National Park at the beginning of December, less than a month after her buddy Modjadji was rescued.

Daisy was just 12 hours old when they found her, still wet from the womb and with her umbilical chord still connected. She was incapable of standing, had a “nasty umbilical infection,” and was very weak and fragile.

The baby rhino was given a plasma transfusion to help strengthen her immune system, and she spent several months in the Intensive Treatment Unit receiving care at all hours of the day and night.

When Daisy turned 7 months old last month on July 9, the animal sanctuary shared the following post on Instagram:

“On this date 7 months ago, the tiniest of rhinos calves landed at Care For Wild’s helipad. She took her first steps in the ICU. The months that followed would be some of the toughest and most challenging we have yet experienced. Daisy took us and the vets on a learning curve like never before. Despite being sample sized, she climbed into the hearts of thousands all over the world with her dinosaur ears, droopy lips and resilience to survive. She has increased awareness for the plight of rhinos internationally and will forever hold a special place in our hearts. One day she will be old enough and strong enough to enter the rewilding and release programme. For now she has a long road ahead but she is most definitely galloping in the right direction!”

The Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary explained to the Daily Mail that while Daisy and Modjadji remain very close friends, the long term goal is still a “successful release back into their natural ecosystems with their own species.”

“Whilst Daisy will eventually join the other orphaned rhinos and Modjadji will return to a herd of zebras, their unique friendship will always be a vital part of their rehabilitation journey,” the sanctuary said.

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