On 7 May 2014 the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre took custody of a 3 month old baby rhino after he was found next to his dead mother who had been tragically and brutally poached for her horn. The tiny animal, named Gertjie, would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her.
After a seemingly endless search to find an animal companion to bond with the baby rhino, on 4 August 2014, a 3-week-old Pedi lamb named Lammie arrived at the centre. Upon her arrival, Lammie was uneasy and a frightened but immediately Lammie started to follow Gertjie around. That night, Lammie spent the night in Gertjie’s room and was quickly following the baby rhino everywhere that he went. Gertjie did not show any aggression towards the little lamb.
Lammie has become a regular fixture at the centre. Wherever there’s Gertjie, there’s Lammie following close behind. While she is very attached to Gertjie, she will not hesitate to move away when Gertjie gets too boisterous for her. She has quickly learned to read his mood and act accordingly.
The below video, taken by the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre’s assistant curator Karien Smit, is a perfect example of the cute way that little Gertjie and his sidekick Lammie interact with each other. They are a very special pair!
Companion animals are important for orphans like Gertjie, as they not only provide companionship, they also minimise human interaction. To show your support for Gertjie and Lammie visit the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre’s online sponsorship, adoption and donation portal here.