In the wild, Daisy and Modjadji would never have met.
But at the Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary, the baby rhino and young zebra have become unlikely friends and are helping each other heal.
In early December, rangers found Daisy alone and struggling in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Daisy was just a few hours old and incredibly weak, so her rescuers transported her by helicopter to the sanctuary’s intensive care unit. Daisy needed round-the-clock care and feeding, along with other treatments to boost her immune system and help her maintain her body temperature.
But Daisy wasn’t the only baby animal at the hospital.
“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 at Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary, told The Dodo. “Modjadji was thought to be just a week old.”
The two young orphans formed a close friendship, becoming each other’s chosen family.
“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 a month together, Modjadji and Daisy are more like sisters. Wherever Daisy is, Modjadji isn’t far behind.
“They cuddle together at night, which gives Daisy comfort and security,” Bowker said. “[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, Daisy and Modjadji will be able to run free and meet other rhinos and zebras. But, for now, all they need is each other, proving that the family you choose is the family that really matters.