A BLACK cat has struck up a remarkable friendship with a baby rhino.
Two-year-old rhino Jasiri and the black cat play together and have become inseparable.
Jasiri is one of five black rhino due to be released back into the wild in Rwanda as part of a conservation project.
But until then the rhino and the cat are best pals at the Dvur Kralove Zoo 80 kilometers east of Prague in the Czech Republic.
Jasiri has overcome adversity to not only strike up a touching friendship with her feline friend but also to survive a scare soon after her birth.
She was too small to suckle when she was born at the Dvur Kralove Zoo, meaning her mother and another female rhino had to be milked by keepers so she could feed during the first nine days of her life.
Jasiri’s fighting spirit won the day—her name in Swahili means “brave”—and she not only has time to play with her kitty friend but also to charge around her enclosure in deep snow.
But sub-zero temperatures will soon be a thing of the past when Jasiri along with three other rhinos from Dvur Kralove Zoo, Manny, Olmoti and Jasmina, as well as Mandela from the Ebeltoft Safari Park in Denmark, are airlifted to the Rwandan capital of Kigali.
Eventually they will be released into Rwanda’s Akagera National Park where they will be protected from poachers by armed park rangers.
Poaching is a constant threat to black and white rhinos and reintroducing new stock into the gene pool is a key part of a strategy to preserve them.
Efforts to thwart the killing using large teams of rangers and sophisticated security measures has seen poaching in the Akagera National Park reduced by 97 percent in three years.
Prince Harry and Prince William are both supporters of rhino conservation and have asked to be kept updated on the project.