Cat Comes Face To Face With A Rhino And Both Creatures’ Instincts Just Take Over

Were it not for the work of conservationists in Africa, the rhinoceros would would likely be all but extinct. Because of their valuable horns, these animals are frequent targets of poachers. This means they’re subjected to constant hunting—and that can have devastating effects on young rhinos like Nandi.

In November 2016, poachers took everything from Nandi, a young southern white rhino who lived on the plains of South Africa. They left her in an impossible situation and she wasn’t likely to survive. Then, just when things couldn’t get any worse, she came face-to-face with a few unlikely creatures…

In November 2016, a baby southern white rhino—who would come to be known as Nandi—faced an impossible situation: her mother had been killed by poachers, and at just two months old, she was completely alone and unable to fend for herself.

Given the circumstances, Nandi struggled to survive. She didn’t have a mother to show her what to eat, so the desperate baby rhino filled her belly on sand. Pending a miracle, it was clear she wouldn’t be long for the world.

Helping Rhinos

But Nandi fought long enough, and eventually, that miracle came. Rescuers came across the severely dehydrated rhino in the nick of time and rushed her to the Rhino Orphanage, a Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation-supported non-profit company in South Africa.

The Rhino Orphanage / Facebook

At the orphanage, Nandi was given milk under the watchful eye of her caretaker, Jamie Traynor. Charged with her well-being, Jamie ensured the rhino received all she needed. She even slept alongside the rhino at night! But would it be enough?

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation / Facebook

After all, Nandi had been through a lot, and all that sand in her belly posed serious health risks. Nevertheless, if she were going to recover, the Rhino Orphanage was her best chance.

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Day by day, thanks to Jamie and the Orphanage’s dedicated efforts, Nandi’s vitals improved. She started eating solid food—not sand!—and she was drinking plenty of water. She even made a few friends!

Her first friend, of course, was Jamie herself! Every day, the caretaker took the little white rhino on a walk, so the two had plenty of time to bond. But their relationship was a bit more playful, too.

Paul Oxton / YouTube

For example, Nandi loved chasing Jamie around the grounds! “She’s a little rhino with a big attitude and has given Jamie many bruises already” from playing, a Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation spokesman said. But Jamie wasn’t the only friend the rhino loved to play with…

Paul Oxton / YouTube

While Jamie may have been dubbed “The Rhino Whisperer,” she actually rescued and cared for another species of animal, too—and it was one that she would soon introduce to Nandi.

Jamie Traynor Blog

Jamie had rescued Mewie the cat when he was just a few weeks old. The cat followed her wherever Jamie went around the Rhino Orphanage, so she was bound to bump into Nandi sooner or later. But would they get along?

Sure enough, during her time spent recovering, Nandi came face-to-face with Mewie—and it didn’t take long for her to find out she had a few interests in common with the handsome feline!

“They get along pretty well because they both love to go for walks,” Jamie said. “Mewie needs to be carried back from the walks because he gets too tired!” But that was alright because then the two could participate in another favorite activity…

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation / Facebook

Nandi and Mewie bonded over a mutual adoration for naps! But since rhinos typically only sleep about eight hours per day compared to a cat’s 12, Mewie had to clock in his additional hours on the side.

With her new friends by her side, Nandi took massive strides towards hr recovery. In fact, with her general demeanor, psychology, and health trending upwards, caretakers hoped she might be able to some day return to the wild! But then there was a hiccup…

In February 2017—just a few months after Nandi’s initial rescue—poachers raided the Rhino Orphanage. They were hunting for valuable ivory tusks… and they were willing to kill to get them. As a result, Nandi was in serious danger.

Thankfully, Nandi survived the poacher attack, but Jamie knew she wouldn’t be safe at the Rhino Orphanage anymore. Complicating matters was that the orphaned rhino still wasn’t ready to be released into the wild just yet. Authorities mulled over what to do with her…

The Orphanage opted to transfer Nandi—as well as another rhino named Storm—to a more secure facility called Zululand Rhino Orphanage. In March 2017, Jamie and Mewie officially said goodbye to their friend, Nandi.

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

Though saying goodbye was sad, it was a wise decision. And thanks to Jamie’s great care and Mewie’s friendship, in May 2018, the Zululand Rhino Orphanage found Nandi fit enough to return to the wild!

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

On the day she was released, the orphaned white rhino—along with her newest friend, Storm—was nervous to leave the sheltered facility. They spent multiple days standing at the gate, unwilling to venture out into the wild on their own.

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

Eventually, though, she and Storm stepped out of the fenced-in orphanage, and for the first time in their lives, they were completely free. And it was all thanks to the friends they’d made along the way!

Helping Rhinos / YouTube

Rhinos aren’t often seen as playful animals, but then again, you haven’t seen Nandi yet! Just watch her having the time of her life as she plays with Jamie. This sure was a rhino that couldn’t be kept down for long!

Poachers took everything from Nandi, but thanks to the friends she made at the Rhino Orphanage, she was able to find the strength to make it back to the wild!

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