Rescue Zebra Befriends Struggling Rhino Calf Brought to Sanctuary 12 Hours After Birth

Daisy the young rhino, who rescuers found with her umbilical cord still attached, recently met and befriended a zebra foal named Modjadji at South Africa's Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary

zebra and rhino snuggling
Photo: Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary

An adorable odd couple is helping each other heal at the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa.

In early December, the sanctuary took in a one-day-old rhino calf — who rescuers discovered with her umbilical cord still attached — and named her Daisy.

"Discovered and rescued by the SANParks team during a routine operation in the Kruger, our latest arrival was just 12 hours old when she was admitted on Thursday afternoon. Unable to stand, her umbilical cord was still attached. She is incredibly weak and extremely vulnerable. This little calf is being fed hourly around the clock. At this stage, the team works in shifts to ensure there is always a caregiver by her side. We have an extremely long road ahead, but every rhino matters," the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary posted to Facebook on Dec. 11, along with several photos of the calf.

Since taking in Daisy, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary has been working around the clock to keep the baby animal stable and healthy. According to the sanctuary, without colostrum from her mother's milk, Daisy and her immune system are massively compromised, making the calf vulnerable to illness.

"This tiny, miniature rhino instantly climbed into our hearts. With her oversized feet, droopy lips, and hairy ears, she looked prehistoric, and yet she was so unbelievably vulnerable," the sanctuary shared in a Dec. 14 Facebook post.

Daisy's care includes staying at the sanctuary's ICU, receiving plasma transfusions and antibiotics, getting light exercise, and keeping warm with blankets. Humans aren't Daisy's only helpers. The young rhino recently befriended another patient at the sanctuary's ICU: Modjadji, a young zebra foal rescued following severe storms.

Modjadji started keeping Daisy company shortly after the baby rhino arrived and can often be found cuddling and nuzzling the animal.

"She has befriended little Daisy and is really offering her a lot of comfort. She is incredibly gentle with her, and the two seem to be good friends already," the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary wrote in a Dec. 23 Facebook post, which also included a video of the pair hanging out.

Daisy still has a long road ahead of her as she works to build up her strength while fighting off illness, with the sanctuary calling each day with her a "miracle." The facility has seen some improvement in the calf's health over the past few weeks, especially in Daisy's appetite.

The Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary is hopeful that Daisy's fighting spirit and friendship with Modjadji will help see her through any difficult days ahead.

Animal lovers can help support the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary's lifesaving work by visiting the sanctuary's website and making a donation.

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