Poignant new footage captures an orphaned baby rhinoceros seeking solace from its keeper.
Four-month-old Gertjie is seen nuzzling a female member of staff from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa with his nose.
In a bid to get closer to her, the thick-skinned creature rolls down on to the floor and affectionately lays his head on her lap.
Creature comforts: Poignant new footage captures an orphaned baby rhinoceros named Gertjie seeking solace from its keeper at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa
Apparently the infant rhino is scared of sleeping alone and will only rest when someone is near him.
Gertjie was rescued from the wild on May 7 after being found next to his dead mother.
The adult rhino had been brutally murdered by poachers for her horn, which can cost more than gold on the black market.
Staff at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre said it was a devastating sight finding Gertjie as the tiny animal wouldn’t leave his mother’s side and was ‘crying inconsolably’ for her.
After being discovered, the infant animal – thought to have been born around February 19 – was sedated and transported a short distance to safety.
He spent his first night at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre with a human minder and a tame sheep called Skaap, which acts as the facility’s ‘surrogate mother’.
Gertjie is now said to be doing well and slowly gaining confidence.
Staff take it turns to feed him every three hours and sleep with him in his enclosure.
Safe from harm: Gertjie was rescued from the wild on May 7 after being found next to his dead mother
Traumatic: Staff at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre said it was a devastating sight finding the tiny animal, as he wouldn’t leave his mother’s side and was ‘crying inconsolably’ for her
He is also led on two long walks every day in a bid to build up his strength and keepers say that he ‘absolutely loves’ mud baths.
The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is now appealing for donations to keep Gertjie’s milk stock afloat, as he goes through gallons a day.
During 2013, 1,004 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone for their horns according to savetherhino.org, which is the equivalent of nearly three per day
At the current rate of killing, it’s predicted the species could be extinct in the wild by 2026.