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Our best friend’s a rhino! Family’s incredible bond with orphaned animal whose mother was shot by poachers

They are known for their incredible strength and vicious temper, which makes these images of a fearless woman who lives with a rhinoceros all the more extraordinary.

The two ton beast formed a remarkable bond with Anne Whittall when she took him into her home in Zimbabwe as a baby.

The docile creature, affectionately known as Jimmy, was orphaned when his mother was cruelly shot by poachers in South Africa in 2007.

Photographer David Hulme, discovered him yards from his mother’s body, petrified and hiding beneath a bush. He had been left to fend for himself for several days.

David, 40, then took Jimmy to close family friend Mrs Whittall, who along with her husband, Roger, runs Humani guesthouse and Roger Whittall Safaris in Zimbabwe.

The couple immediately volunteered to take care of the black rhino who quickly became one of the family and Anne’s best friend.

Five years later, Jimmy, named after Roger’s late father, is free to come and go as he pleases but still visits Anne, 71, regularly by popping his head through the open kitchen window.

David said: ‘There’s no doubt that Jimmy sees Anne as his mother.

‘This isn’t surprising though as Anne bottle-fed him five or six times a day as a youngster.

‘He likes to come into the lounge and socialize and when he is feeling neglected, he squeaks with indignation and makes people jump.

‘He has quite a few friends in the form of the pet dogs, two orphan cows, some warthogs and an orphan buffalo.

‘Anne often takes Jimmy walking, although to be honest there is no walking involved.

‘Anne and the dogs walk ahead while Jimmy brings up the rear, shuffling along and losing ground as he goes.

‘Suddenly he realizes he has been left behind and achieves zero to top gear in seconds.

‘Rhino are extremely short-sighted and pounding down the road after Anne, Jimmy seldom picks her out until he is really close. There are often some near misses.

‘Although he is mostly a placid kind of guy, he is also super tough and possesses unbelievable strength for an animal his size and age.

‘The strength in his shoulders and neck is particularly awesome.’

Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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