A field guide was walking around the South African plains this week when he noticed something heartbreaking: A mother rhino kept pushing away her newborn baby when he tried to get close to her to nurse.
The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center (HESC) was alerted to the exhausted and emaciated baby and quickly took action to save his life.
“We do not know what could have caused her to behave in this way,” HESC wrote on Facebook. “The young bull had no chance of survival without intervention.”
The people at HESC bottle fed the starving baby rhino and after just one night in their care, he started to stabilize. But baby rhinos need more than just food and drink.
“Lammie, mother-extraordinaire, was brought in this morning,” HESC wrote.
Lammie is a sheep — with a very special job.
About the size of a baby rhino, Lammie helps orphaned or rejected baby rhinosfeel like they’re not alone in the world.
Lammie and the new rhino resident met after he got some rest. And it seemed like there was good chemistry between the two, quite different animals.
“After his second night with us, we are pleased that our new baby rhino is doing well,” HESC wrote on Facebook on Friday. “He was a bit more active last night and woke up just before his feeds. Over the past 24 hours, he’s also been taking his bottle without too much effort. This is encouraging as it shows he is gaining strength.”
With rhino populations in peril, every little baby counts. With all the love he’s getting, from sheep and human kind, this tiny rhino certainly has a fighting chance.