Orphaned Rhino and Zebra Help Caregiver Make Milk in Mischievous, Adorable Video

A video showing an orphaned baby rhino and zebra foal pestering a caregiver while he makes milk has been released by the sanctuary where the pair are being looked after.

The footage posted to Facebook by the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa, which can be found here, shows the unlikely friends following the caregiver around during their playtime.

The sanctuary said that the two, Daisy the rhino and Modjadji the zebra, are becoming "very mischievous."

Rachael Pfeiffer, from the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, told Newsweek that this type of friendship is unusual, however they both come from a similar situation.

"Everyone needs a friend in dark times and that is exactly what these two babies are, best friends," she said. "What's wonderful is that Modjadji is also a grazer and already eating grass. Daisy is trying to copy her which is fantastic because Modjadji will now teach Daisy how to graze."

Daisy arrived at the sanctuary in December after having been found "incredibly weak and vulnerable" in Kruger National Park at just 12 hours old. She was so young that the umbilical cord was still attached.

While it was unclear whether the mother was still alive, Daisy was flown to the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary intensive care unit (ICU.) She was found to have a compromised immune system as she had received no colostrum from her mother. She needed round the clock feeding every hour.

The sanctuary said that Daisy is now doing "very well" and is weighed daily to allow the caregivers to monitor her growth.

The zebra, Modjadji, arrived about a month before Daisy after being found motionless and barely breathing after heavy rains and storms.

She was brought to the ICU and found to be "extremely compromised" with severe anaemia. She received a blood transfusion from another zebra which saved her life.

Another post said that the zebra likes to check up on her friends milk.

According to another Facebook post shared on January 22, Modjadji has taken to checking up on the preparation of her friend's milk. Daisy will need milk until she around 17 months old. At just over two months old, Modjadji also needs milk every three hours.

Modjadji quickly befriended Daisy, and the sanctuary regularly posts videos of them together. The sanctuary said that the orphaned zebra has been a "lifesaver" as she is always there for her rhino friend.

In December, the sanctuary saw a "surge of babies." Daisy was found during a week when dozens of rhinos were killed by poachers over the space of just a few weeks.

In the run up to Christmas, poaching activity tends to increase, while leaves many calves having to fend for themselves when their mothers are killed.

Figures released by the government of South Africa show that in 2020, just under 400 rhinos were killed by poachers. This represented a 33 percent decrease, which was largely attributed to the COVID pandemic reducing the movement of people—including poachers.

Care for Wild is hoping to eventually release Daisy and its other orphaned rhinos back into the wild.

This article has been updated to include quotes from Rachael Pfeiffer.

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A stock photo shows a rhino calf. Many calves are left alone when their mothers are killed by poachers. LanternWorks/Getty Images