Pretty much everything about dik-diks, a species of antelope native to Africa, is incredibly small -- except, perhaps, their hearts. Although this baby dik-dik, a 20-inch-tall male named Neo, was rejected by his mother shortly after being born at the Chester Zoo in England, he wasn't long without maternal guidance. According to keeper Claire McPhee, Neo's older sister, 7 months his senior, soon stepped-in to help rear the fragile youngster.
Dik-dik mothers do not always take to their young and unfortunately Neo and his mum didn't quite hit it off. But happily his not-so-big sister Aluna - who herself didn't manage to bond with her mum - is drawing on her own experiences and is being a real calming influence on him. They spend lots and lots of time in each other's company and she's really helping with his development in his crucial early days.
While brother-sister relationships are often rivalrous in the animal world, among some species older siblings play an important role in raising offspring to maturity -- behavior biologists term 'cooperative-breeding'.
[Via The Independent]