The plight of the world’s rhinos is a sad tale to tell. In recent decades, these wonderful animals have been hunted to near-extinction for the supposed “medicinal benefits” that their horns are rumored to possess – although, in reality, those same “benefits” could be achieved by simply chewing on your nails, as human fingernails and rhino horns are both composed of a protein called keratin. The Javan rhinoceros was declared extinct in 2011 while the Western Black Rhinoceros suffered the same fate in 2013. The Sumatran and Black Rhino subspecies are currently classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Last November, Nola – one of only four remaining Northern White Rhinos on the planet – passed away, leaving behind an extremely bleak outlook for her subspecies. Only one male named Sudan (who is kept under armed guard by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya) and two females now remain. None of them are capable of natural reproduction, so scientists are working on the possibility of implanting a northern white rhino embryo into a surrogate mother from the closely related southern white rhino subspecies.
If any rhino subspecies are to be saved, we humans need to get it together and act quickly. At least three rhinos are killed for their horns every single day. In the midst of this rather depressing news, however, The Rhino Orphanage in South Africa decided to spread a little joy amongst followers by sharing a series of photographs which detail the touching friendship between Kabira and Kabelo, two of the baby rhinos under their care.
The two are inseparable.
“C’mon Kabelo, let’s play follow the leader!”
“Hey, come on – wakey wakey!” Isn’t it annoying when you just want to lay back and relax, but all your friend wants to do is play?
“Ooh, I think I’ve found something under this rock!”
For these two, nothing hits the spot quite like a quick nap after dinner…
… or a refreshing mud bath.
“Ah … this is the life!”
Kabira is a more recent arrival to the orphanage, and was initially nervous about her new surroundings, but it wasn’t long before Kabelo took her under her wing. On the morning of their first walk together, The Rhino Orphanage staff said, “(Kabira) quickly relaxed thanks to the help of her new best friend, Kabelo, letting her know she is now safe. They played, wallowed and grazed to their heart’s content.” It is so wonderful to know that whatever tragic circumstances may have led the new BFFs to be in the orphanage in the first place, these two have now found solace in one another.
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All Image Source: The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook