A Rhino’s Best Friend… An Anatolian Shepherd Dog

They say dogs are a man’s best friend. But in South Africa, this Anatolian Shepherd dog is becoming a baby rhino’s best friend… and protector.

The dog, named David, has been introduced to baby rhinoceros Esme at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC).

The young rhino calf was adopted by HESC a few days ago from a game farm where she was in danger of losing her life because, although she was suckling from her mother, she was not putting on weight. The reserve named her Esme and contacted HESC to help.


Since arriving at HESC little Esme is doing great, snuggling up on her curators’ laps to sleep, and drinking her milk… so she is expected to put on weight and gain strength.

Little Esme is warming up to Linri, the Head Curator. Source: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

HESC announced yesterday that they’ve now introduced her to David “who is tasked with keeping her company and protecting her”.

According to HESC, “the Anatolian Shepherd dog is a breed that’s been used by Turkish shepherds for thousands of years, as the first line of defence against predators. When fully grown, these canine’s formidable height (standing at 27 to 29 inches/69 to 74 cm tall) can easily intimidate predators.

“They are also independent thinkers who need little direction to do their job. In addition, their short coats are well suited to hot climates.

“We are doing whatever we can to ensure the safety of our rhino, and are happy they will now have extra protection in the form of David.”

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