This Rhino Wants A Belly Rub And Refuses To Take ‘No’ For An Answer

While it’s crucial to voice our concerns about rhino poaching to our elected officials, it wouldn’t be possible without all the activists and filmmakers who dedicate their time raising awareness and informing the public. This is especially true in the United States, a country that, surprisingly, has the second-highest consumption of rhino products in the world.

So when Garth de Bruno Austin, the director of photography of a feature documentary called Disunity, was tasked with filming rhinos in South Africa, he knew how important it was to convey the urgency of protecting this endangered species.

What he didn’t realize was that, despite their wild and often territorial nature, rhinos could also be affectionate. Thankfully, he experienced that firsthand in the funniest way!

Garth de Bruno Austin is a South African filmmaker who is no stranger to documenting wild rhinos. His interest in filming began when he was just a teenager; since then, he’s been hard at work, even creating a web series for the world’s largest rhino orphanage, Care for Wild Africa. That’s where he fell in love with rhinos in particular.

Chantelle Melzer

Garth’s interest in filming rhinos is interconnected with saving them. According to Defenders of Wildlife, rhinos are one of the most endangered species in the world. Few wild rhinos live outside of reserves or national parks.

Michael R. P. Ragazzon / flickr

With rhino populations in such dire straights, you can see why filmmakers like Garth are incredibly important to the cause. And it appears that even the rhinos themselves realize this: because Garth has been filming rhinos for years, he’s often recognized by the animals.

Chantelle Melzer

…And one in particular had no problem letting Garth know it! Normally, no one should approach any rhino; they’re incredibly dangerous animals that can easily kill anything they see as a threat. So it was an especially magical moment when one not only walked up to Garth… but approached him in the funniest way…

Chantelle Melzer

See what she did to Garth in the video! It’s hard to believe an animal this big could be such a cuddly creature!

Garth noted on Instagram that it was “completely her decision to let me come into her personal space and touch her.”

He asks the public, “Please think about the fact that if we can’t save this iconic species from extinction, then what will we be able to save?” Rhinos are truly one of the world’s more precious animals, and it’s horrible that they are so close to extinction. As long as people like Garth continue to spread the love that rhinos give, hopefully fewer people will buy rhino products and more will work to save them.

Share this amazing rhino belly rub with your friends below!

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