By Federico Cornetto
An adorable baby rhino rejected by her mother has found new love in the humans who rescued her – and has finally learned to charge.
On the morning of November 1, patrol rangers spotted rhino calf Maarifa stuck in a muddy pool at the Meru National Park Rhino Sanctuary in WHERE.
Her mother was trying to rescue her but making things worse with her frantic efforts and with the calf facing a life-or-death situation, the rangers decided to take action and clambered into the swamp, pulling out the tiny animal and carrying her to safety.
Maarifa was just a day old, and she joyfully greeted her rescuers by spinning in circles and playing around with them.
The rangers immediately retreated a safe distance, leaving Maarifa alone in the hope that the mother would come to get her back, but inexplicably, the female appeared uninterested in her calf and for nearly two days, efforts to reunite mum and daughter failed, with mum refusing to respond to her baby’s calls.
As starving Maarifa was in desperate need for milk, the rangers had no choice but to rescue the little rhino a second time, boarding her on a helicopter and bringing her to a new home.
Maarifa arrived at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nursery, situated within Nairobi National Park, on November 2, where she was fed a specialist replacement formula milk and met the Keepers who would raise her until she is old enough to return to the wild in a protected area.
Angela Sheldrick, Director at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, said: “Maarifa certainly had plenty of attitude and personality despite having gone through two arduous days with no milk.
“She remained restless for a while, but very soon settled into her creature comforts, like the soft mattress, fresh cut hay that she enjoyed sleeping on, and a little blanket that was tied around her tummy for warmth at night and in the early mornings.”
Maarifa has now been in the care of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for a month, and in the video, she can be seen enjoying a drink of milk, trotting after her keepers as they go for nature walks, chilling in the shade and enthusiastically spinning around as she learns to charge.
Maarifa has now been in the care of the Trust for a month, and in the video, she can be seen enjoying a drink of milk, trotting after her Keepers as they go for nature walks, chilling in the shade and enthusiastically running and spinning around as she learns to charge.
Angela said: “Maarifa owns the establishment, she is extremely playful so her days are spent charging around for hours, barreling past the keepers as well as the resident wild warthogs and their babies.
“Sometimes she can be slow in applying the brakes, which one has to be mindful of!
“While Maarifa has the company of keepers at all times, she is often dictating much of the action!
“Maarifa has completely captivated the compound, and all the Keepers, the Kenya Wildlife Service rangers and the DSWT staff simply cannot get enough of her antics.
“Even the elephants appear fascinated by this compact bundle of attitude!”