By Lauren Campbell
Two orphaned baby animals have formed their own little family to support each other.
Baby hippopotamus Humpty and little antelope Sala spend much of the day together at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust field headquarters in Kaluku, Kenya.
Humpty was rescued in December from a drying pond where she had become bogged down. The team watched her for a couple of days to determine that she was an orphan, before rescuing her to stop her from dying.
At the headquarters, which does not primarily serve as an animal orphanage, the baby hippo guzzles five bottles of milk formula every day.
She spends her days resting in a specially constructed pool, where she practices holding her breath underwater for up to 45 seconds.
Sala was just a week old when she was found by tourists at Tsavo National Park.
When she isn’t playing with Humpty in her pool, she shelters in the vegetation nearby.
Their unlikely friendship has touched the hearts of staff at the headquarters, although they are set to be reintegrated into the wild once they are older.
Rob Brandford, Executive Director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the UK said: “The staff here have expertise in hand rearing orphaned animals and the location allows for an easier reintegration process with wild populations of both species living nearby.
“Humpty is very affectionate and tactile. She likes to suckle on anything she can get to and even licks Sala when the Kudu is getting her milk feeds.
“But she can also be sulky if she doesn’t get her way.
“She stays in her specially built pool during the majority of the day, emerging in the early morning and evening for a run about on her specially built sand ‘beach’.
“Sala spends most of her day with Humpty or walking about the area near Humpty’s pool where there is plenty of vegetation to hide in.”
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust works to preserve and protect African wilderness.