By David Aspinall
This kind kudu grooms and mothers an orphaned one-week-old dik-dik like one of her own.
Despite dwarfing the smaller species of antelope, kudu Sala – herself less than one-year-old – lovingly licks and massages the neck and back of Toto.
Filmed at the Kalaku field office of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya, at the beginning of December 2017, Toto had only been rescued less than one week previously.
Sala was rescued from the Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, in March 2017, while Toto was himself saved from Tsavo West National Park on November 28.
Rob Brandford, a spokesperson for DSWT, said: “Sala is smitten with Toto.
“She immediately took on an almost maternal role despite hardly knowing her own mother because she was orphaned at the tender age of just one week.
“She offered him some affectionate grooming for a couple of minutes.
“Despite being very different species, Sala and Toto are both orphans.
“As both are being hand raised at the same location, they naturally spend most of their day together and have become firm friends.”
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues orphaned wild animals where efforts to reunite the infant with its family have failed.
Amie Rob said: “Interspecies friendship are fairly common at the DSWT and at our Nursery in Nairobi.
“There we care for larger orphaned animals, including a rhino, more than 30 elephants and a giraffe.
“It seems the orphans take comfort in one another having all shared the similar and tragic experience.
“This is often at the hands of humans through ivory or bush meat poaching, or human wildlife conflict.”