An orphaned baby zebra is being raised by conservation caretakers, who wear special striped coats when they feed and groom him in order to resemble his mother.

Sadly, a group of goat herdsmen in Nairobi witnessed the baby zebra’s mother being chased down and killed by a pride of lions, and the baby fled to the nearest safe place — the herd of goats. The kind herders fed the foal goat’s milk, and he was eventually taken to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s (SWT) Voi Reintegration Unit.

Named Diria after the ranch where he was rescued, the foal is being given the constant attention he needs in order to survive. Diria is “incredibly affectionate” and loves nuzzling into his caretakers while they groom him.

The tailor-made coat is being worn by all of the conservation’s workers, so that Diria can imprint — a process where young animals come to recognize someone as their parent — just as he would in nature, without becoming overly attached to any one individual. The trust says it has successfully used this technique with other rescued zebras, who have gone on to live in the wild.

The love and care that these workers are providing for little Diria is a great testament to how animals and humans can share truly special bonds.

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