Gray Car Stays Silent When Baby Rhino Asks, ‘Are You My Mother?’

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White rhinoceros or square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium
Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/© 2014 Wolfgang Kaehler

In late July, after his mother was killed by poachers in South Africa, Donnie the orphaned baby rhinoceros was desperate to find a parent-shaped object to take care of him. A tourist’s gray Hyundai Santa Fe seemed to fulfill all his requirements — gray, imposing, decent gas mileage. Donnie snuggled his new mom’s bumper until park rangers came to tranquilize him and take him to a new home in Kruger National Park.

The rhino reacted badly to the drug, and went into cardiac arrest while being transported. The plane he was in had to make an emergency landing. The daughter of the park ranger Donnie is named after wrote on Facebook, “After 3 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!”

At press time, we were unable to discern whether his adoptive mother’s comment — “Honk” — meant she was sad that she’d never see Donnie again or she was glad that the authorities took him away before he scratched her new paint job.