The cutest animals of 2017 that need their faces squished

2017-12-09 13:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - Cute animals are the balm to our sometimes awful world, and when you're having a bad day, a well-placed baby animal photo can perk you right up.

SA is blessed with enough animals to keep the entire world entertained forever and it makes you so mad when you think of all the poaching and smuggling taking place because humans can't have nice things.

But that's an article for another day. Instead, let's focus on the adorable, too-good-for-this-world furry critters that made 2017 a little less sad.

PICS: SA's #CuteAnimalTweetOffGoneWild will melt your heart

A baby hippo that has everyone in stitches, a therapy pig that calms down anxious travellers and baby animals showing what true friendship is all about.

Here's to more happy animals and less horrible wildlife crimes for 2018.

Fiona the Hippo is a viral superstar

This baby hippo knows how to get everyone's attention. Fiona first graced the spotlight after photobombing a couple's engagement at the Cincinnati Zoo in the US, looking incredibly adorable as she looked on the happy moment.

In another post that went viral, Fiona was caught letting out some farts while swimming underwater, the bubbles clearly visible in a video.

Fiona was the first Nile born hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo in 75 years. Fiona was born in January 2017 and 6 weeks premature.  She had to fight for her life from the day that she was born, weighing at on 13kgs instead of the normal 45kg weigh of baby hippos.

Hopefully we get to see more of her toots in 2018.

WATCH: Fiona the flatulent, baby hippo reminds us she is adorable

The oinking fabulous airport piggy

Lilou has taken the internet by storm as the only airport therapy pig in the world. This ‘little’ but not so little pink piglet has given travellers love at San Francisco International airport since 2016.

Lilou is certified with the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (SPCA) Animal Assisted Therapy (ATT) program and part of WAGS - a team of dogs and cats that make travellers' experience more enjoyable.

Each of them wear a jersey that states ‘pet me’ to encourage travellers to get up close and personal with these friendly creatures. Each animal has been carefully selected for their demeanor and personality.

Safe to say this piggy crept into all of our hearts.

PICS: The first airport therapy pig is 'oinking' fabulous

The lost wildebeest calf that bonded with a car

Shared by Latest Sightings community, sweet footage was captured by Zaheer and Asma Ali while in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which shows a baby blue wildebeest lost from its herd and trying to find a "replacement” mother in a blue vehicle that happens to be passing by. 

The couple were quite shocked to see the wildebeest calf move and stop as the car does. They said they followed the calf and the blue car for about 2kms when the calf decided to follow another car that was passing in the opposite direction.

Eventually the calf was reunited with its mother, and the story came to a happy ending.

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: This lost wildebeest calf bonding with a car is ridiculously cute

Timbavati's pups add hope for endangered wild Dogs

Seven adorable African Wild dog pups were spotted in a rare sighting at Timbavati Game Reserve by wildlife photographer Massimo Da Silva. Spotting these little balls of fur is an exciting moment as they are an endangered species.

Witnessing these little pups emerge from their sleeping hole was a priceless moment, says Massimo.

"Seeing the pups was like hitting the lottery, it was an unforgettable moment! Many people flock to the Kruger National Park where the Timbavati Game Reserve is situated - to see the African wild dogs and many do not see it making this experience truly special," he says.

WATCH: Timbavati's 3-week-old pups add hope for endangered wild dogs

How selfies helped save the happiest animal in the world

A viral selfie with an endangered quokka has not only boosted tourism for Rottnest Island, but has also helped boost the population of the happy marsupial.

Just off the coast of Australia, Rottnest Island serves as a perfect haven for the 'happiest animal on earth', as dubbed by Huffington Post, whose numbers on the mainland has dwindled down into the hundreds.

In 2012, a man posted a selfie of the adorable animals and it soon started a selfie craze in Australia, as tourists flocked to the island to get their very own quokka selfie.  

Just look at that face and you'll see why they're so popular!

WATCH: How selfies helped save the happiest animal in the world

Adorable baby rhino playfully charges at car

Tourists visiting South Africa on a safari were lucky enough to capture the footage of an adorable baby rhino charging a car.

The little bundle of cuteness attempted to charge the vehicle and once the car started to reverse and come to a halt, the little one changed its mind and trotted away only to return for round two as it ran between two vehicles on the road.

The mother rhino was not too far from sight as she watched over her pride and joy, as he fumbled across the road playfully. A rare sighting like this reminds us of the plight against rhino poaching and also gives us hope for the re-population of the species in South Africa.

WATCH: Adorable baby rhino playfully charges at car

Baby rhino and hippo prove that they are best friends

A cute video emerged of a baby hippo and a baby rhino playing together at an orphanage in South Africa. 

The adorable video has since been shared around the world, gaining close to 3000 views, thanks to Helping Rhinos.

Ntoto and Charlie were filmed during one of their hangouts. In the video, you can see that Charlie is loving the chin scratches from Ntoto. The young orphans make a really cute pair.

Ntoto was found in May 2017 when he was just 4,5 months old, his mother had been poached in Mpumalanga. The reserve vet was called and it took 6 days to catch him.

WATCH: Baby rhino and hippo shine spotlight on poaching in SA

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