Photo Credit: David Roberts
It’s a bro-mance rarely seen but Black Rhinos Dayo and Hodari have become inseparable. Normally solitary animals, the pair are proving the power of friendship at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
And wallowing around in the mud is always better when there’s two of you to share the fun. The critically endangered black rhinos were introduced at the innovative park earlier this year and, after initial sparring to test each other, have settled down to become best buddies.
Dayo and Hodari are often seen running around together and have built up a relationship of mutual respect despite it being unusual for males to be live on the same reserves.
“They have become really close and they tend to stay near each other,” says Britt Jensen, hoofstock team leader at the park, at Branton, near Doncaster, which is home to a many endangered species and is at the forefront of international conservation and welfare.”
“Like any young boys, even the best of friends, they like play fighting but they enjoy using all the wallows for a nice mud bath or spend time grazing in their large reserves. Around midday they can often be seen together in their shelter in the reserve having a well-earned snooze.”Britt Jensen, Hoofstock Team Leader
The two-year-old rhinos were introduced to each other at the park’s Into Africa Reserve in June and their behaviour was carefully monitored for signs that they could get along. Unlike White Rhinos, Black Rhinos are solitary in the wild and the rhino reserves at Into Africa were designed with three separate areas so that there were plenty of options if the rhino preferred to be alone.
“Their behaviour towards each other was always positive which encouraged us to look into introducing them to a shared reserve,” adds Jensen. “They gradually spent more and more time together and are now best of friends.”
“They had to learn to manoeuvre around each other as they would bump into each other, particularly if something spooked them. Now they are aware of each other’s whereabouts and they run together, side by side rather than into each other.”Britt Jensen, Hoofstock Team Leader
Dayo and Hodari weigh in at around 800kg and their weight will increase to 1500kg, the weight of a family estate car, as they mature to their full height of 6ft tall at the shoulder.
The Black Rhino is a critically endangered species and the population in Africa declined by 96% from 65,000 in 1970 to less than 3,000 by 1993 from a devastating period of poaching for their horns which are used to make ornamental crowns, cups and ceremonial daggers as well as for herbal medicine. Their numbers have recently started to increase and, thanks to conservation projects, reached 5,000 last year.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, based at YWP, recently gave conservation efforts a double boost by funding two key projects carried out by Save the Rhino in Kenya. The first supported anti-poaching initiatives while the second financed the construction of new enclosures, called bomas, to facilitate care for injured or orphaned rhinos requiring veterinary treatment or hand-rearing.
YWP puts conservation at the heart of all its activities and offers visitors a mesmerising walk through experience coming almost face to face with some of the world’s most endangered and beautiful animals including Amur Leopards and Tigers, Lions, the country’s only Polar Bears and many more.
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