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Orphaned baby rhino that tried to cuddle up to passing CARS to replace its mother gets a second chance after being flown to a rescue centre

Donnie thought grey people carrier might be able to take on parenting role

Was pictured with parked vehicle in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Mother was poached, leaving two-month old to fend for himself in the wild

He had cardiac arrest on way to Mpumalanga reserve but is now doing fine

This baby rhino was spotted cuddling up to a car after poachers killed his mother.

Poor orphaned Donnie thought the people carrier might be able to take over parenting duties after his mother’s death in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

He mistook the grey coloured vehicle for another rhino where it was parked near the park’s Phabeni Gate last month.



Young animals which have lost their mothers need to recruit replacements in order to survive, so they ‘imprint’ on other animals, humans or even objects.

Donnie had a cardiac arrest while being flown to a wild animal reserve in Mpumalanga and had to be resuscitated

The calf, thought to be around two months old, has been named after Kruger’s regional ranger Don English, according to News 24.

He and a vet tranquilised Donnie in preparation for him to be flown to a wild animal reserve in Mpumalanga province where he could be rehabilitated.

But he went into cardiac arrest while airborne and the pilot had to make an emergency landing, according to Don’s daughter Debbie, who posted a series of heartbreaking images of Donnie on Facebook.

She posted: ‘After three minutes of resuscitation and trying everything to save him, everyone involved was amazed (some with tear filled eyes) when he gasped for air and his little heart started up again.

‘After a rough ride he finally made it to his new home where he probably had a good snooze and is now hopefully settled in.’

Care for Wild Africa, which cares for animals at the Mpumalanga reserve, confirmed Donnie was thriving in his new home.

Spokesperson Marnelle van der Merwe said: ‘He’s doing very well. He drank all his milk and he’s walking around.’

Donnie will be slowly weaned off milk and released back into the wild once he is strong enough.


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