Animals

By Laura Shepherd


These adorable pictures show an impatient baby rhino’s tantrum after her snoozing mum wouldn’t wake up.

Snapper Ayesha Cantor, 49, captured the heart-warming scene at the Kragga Kamma Game park on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Sunday (March 12).

PIC BY AYESHA CANTOR/MERCURY PRESS

In her snaps, the three-month-old white rhino calf can be seen sleeping next to her mother before waking up hungry and eager for a feed.

But the young animal was forced to jump on her lazy mum’s back in a show of gymnastic effort in an effort to wake her up – with the mother rhino eventually giving into the tantrum.

But Ayesha said sharing cute photos of playful rhino calves also plays an important role in keeping the plight of the creatures, which are often killed by poachers, in people’s minds.

The married mum-of-two, from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, said: “Rhino are such chunky, stocky, almost cumbersome creatures, so one does not expect gymnastic moves from them.

PIC BY AYESHA CANTOR/MERCURY PRESS

“Usually this mum is very good at rolling over or getting up so her calf has easy access to her udders, but on this particular day it was unusually cool with constant drizzle.

“And it was a Sunday – who doesn’t want a good nap on a Sunday – which made mum very reluctant to give up her warm spot so junior could have it.

“I sat with them both for about 45 minutes. It looked like they had hunkered down for a marathon nap but you know when things can change.

“Young rhinos, just like young children, are not always down for marathon naps – even on a Sunday!

“Then there’s the business of nourishment – which three-month-old rhino calf wouldn’t want some of mum’s warm and nourishing milk on such a rainy day?

PIC BY AYESHA CANTOR/MERCURY PRESS

“I spend a lot of time with the rhinos on our property, partly as part of our activities but also because I know sooner or later they will get up to some sort of antics, especially the calves.

“They are extremely playful and are always bouncing and running around, chasing birds, exploring and then galloping flat out to the safety of mum’s side.

“I have had many messages on Facebook and Instagram saying how cute the scene was, but scenes like this fill me with joy and dread at the same time.

“These creatures are under enormous threat from poachers. Even though we do all that we can to keep them safe from harm, we know that it is just a matter of time before they too fall under the knife of a poacher.”

Ayesha works for the Kragga Kamma Game Park helping to look after the rhinos and organise the attraction’s PR as well as running an Africa Facebook page and Instagram account.

PIC BY AYESHA CANTOR/MERCURY PRESS

The 49-year-old has been taking photographs for the last five years and said it is her full-time hobby.

She took the snaps of Bonnie, a third generation rhino born in the game park, using a Pentax K5 camera with Pentax 300mm lens after sitting with her and her mum for about 45 minutes.

Ayesha said: “I enjoy animal photography, there is never a dull moment.

“Wildlife can be very interactive, most especially the youngsters as they can be quite playful and full of high jinks.

PIC BY AYESHA CANTOR/MERCURY PRESS

“I love people’s reactions. We are bombarded daily with brutal images of bleeding dead rhinos and I believe cute and lovely images are just as important to keep the plight of our rhinos up in people’s minds.

“In fact, the more people who stop to look at a cute rhino image instead of turning away in horror at a brutal image, the more you can engage with them.

“It leads to more people falling in love with rhinos and realising the importance of saving the species.”