Friendship
Tiny rhino ‘jumps for joy’ when she meets her first-ever friend
Friendships can change our lives; that's true for animals, too.
Cherie Gozon
04.07.22

We all need a friend in life.

Friends make our lives so much more colorful than it already is. It’s always a fun time when we are with them. Since we were kids, we’d loved to play out under the sun, and up until we got older, we still hung out (but probably in cafes and bars this time).

The number of friends never mattered; it’s the quality.

Unsplash - Kinga Cichewicz
Source:
Unsplash - Kinga Cichewicz

Whether you have one bestest best friend or a group of six, what matters in the end is how you are there for each other through the good and bad. Those who have our backs during our worst times always leave a mark on our lives.

Friendships are essential in animal connection, too.

Unsplash - Krista Mangulsone
Source:
Unsplash - Krista Mangulsone

We see this often in domesticated pets like dogs, cats, hamsters, and guinea pigs. They feel low and lonely when they are alone. That’s why most people often have two (or more) of them.

But even while animals need a friend – like Swazi the Rhino.

Swazi had a rough start in life. She was abandoned by her mother and was rescued by Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary. They estimated her to be a few days old at that time.

The team brought her to the sanctuary because they thought she might not make it alone.

YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

They gave her the proper medication and treatment. Swazi was slowly recovering, and they could see that she would grow like a healthy rhino. But they observed something that bothered them.

Swazi may be healthy, but her energy was still very low.

YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

Like children, we could expect young animals to be playful and constantly moving around. However, she didn’t have anyone to play with. Plus, she was too young, small, and fragile to go along with the older rhinos.

They had this wild thought: why not pair her with a goat?

Wild indeed! They had rescued a goat around that time who was also alone. They thought, why not introduce them to each other as playmates? It was their last resort, and all they could do was cross their fingers that their plan would work.

It did! They instantly saw the change in Swazi’s disposition when she met Bokkie.

Bokkie started to jump on her as if prodding her to play with her. In time, Swazi chased her back. The two became inseparable.

Like a happy, prancing animal, the once-sad Swazi now has a spring in her step.

She got very playful along with Bokkie, whom she grew fond of. They had a daily routine of raiding food supplies, going for walks with their caretaker Lucas, and taking naps afterward. And while Bokkie never liked mud baths, she stayed close to Swazi whenever she enjoyed one.

The time came when Swazi and Bokkie had to go separate ways to be with their kind.

YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

Swazi met other rhinoceroses, and the sanctuary found her a potential mate in the future. Even if the two needed to be separated, the team from the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary was sure that they would never forget each other.

Especially for Swazi, whose life changed because of Bokkie. Check out a video about the pair below!

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By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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