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Losing a parent is an incredibly traumatic experience. This can be even more difficult when the loss happens at a very young age. For one poor baby rhino, this heartbreaking thought quickly turned into a reality when his mother was killed by poachers. This rhino has now captured the Internet’s heart and you won’t believe why.
20. The Call
It was a typical day when the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre received an unexpected call. Someone had called in to say that a baby rhino was in need of a home. The staff quickly went out to find the rhino.
The staff went to find the baby rhino that had been left all alone. There was some pretty unfortunate circumstances surrounding this baby rhino and his life would never be the same. Rescuers were in shock when they found out the truth.
Rescuers soon found out that the baby rhino’s mother had been killed by poachers for her horn. The poachers had left the baby rhino alone and the rescuers found him next to his mother’s body. The scene was almost too much to handle.
The poor baby rhino had witnessed his mother’s death and refused to leave her side afterwards. He laid next to her and was ‘crying inconsolably‘ for her. The staff was blown away by the baby rhino’s sadness.
16. Horrible Sight
“It was a devastating sight, as the tiny animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her,” HESC said in a statement. Once the rhino was discovered he was quickly sedated and then transported to safety.
Due to the baby rhino’s traumatic beginning, he now cannot sleep alone. In a video released by the HESC, you can see the four-month-old rhino nuzzle up next to a female staff member. But that wasn’t the end of the affection.
14. In Need of Love
In the video, the baby rhino tries to get even closer to the staff member. The baby then moves his head over to lay down on the staff member’s lap. The sight is almost too cute to be real.
The baby rhino is now residing at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. He has even been given a wonderful name: Gertjie. Gertjie has grown especially close to his keeper at the centre and a tame sheep named Skaap.
Skaap acts as a surrogate mother to many of the abandoned animals at the centre. In order to help Gertjie get better, staff have been working extra hard to help him regain his strength and confidence. You won’t believe how much work it takes.
11. Keeping Tabs
Staff at the centre have been taking turns sleeping inside of Gertjie’s room, as he is afraid of being along, and so they can feed him at regular intervals. Skaap also spends a lot of time with Gertjie and even “cleans up after him from time-to-time“.
10. Getting Better
Through their efforts, Gertjie began to regain his strength and confidence. He is currently being weaned off of his night feeds and is being let out on two long walks each day. All of these efforts are helping him to be more confident.
Slowly, but surely, ‘Little G’ has been finding happiness in the little things in life. One of his absolute favorite pastimes is his mud baths. He gets incredibly excited when he finds out that he can roll around in the mud. However, the centre is starting to have difficulties with taking care of Little G.
The team at the shelter has been reaching out for donations to help their continued efforts to take care of Little G. Little G’s milk is quite expensive to maintain as he drinks a few gallons a day and hasn’t been weaned off completely yet.
When it comes to rhinos, they begin to wean off of their milk at around 15 to 18-months old. As Little G is only four-months-old, he still has some time before he can be weaned off of his milk completely.
Once Little G is weaned off of milk, however, the centre will have to begin prepping to reintroduce him into a wildlife reserve. At the reserve, G will have more room to move around and will have more contact with other rhino’s.
5. Live Channel
For now, the centre has set up camera equipment around G’s room. They now have a live channel that broadcasts G and his daily activities. Anyone that is interested is able to log on and see the fun.
4. Daily Activities
For those that are interested in watching the daily shenanigans of G’s life, you’ll be happy to know that he partakes in some pretty fun things. Gertjie spends his days “taking long walks, [having] mud baths and grazing.” Sounds like a good day to us!
Although Gertjie was able to be rescue, poaching still remains a huge issue in South Africa. In 2013, 1,004 rhinos were the victims of poachers. This adds up to around three rhino deaths per day.
Rhinos are poached for their horns and their bodies are typically dumped off once the horn is removed. With such high poaching numbers, experts have been estimating that the species could go extinct in the few upcoming years.
1. G’s Life
In the meantime, G continues to have a loving and stress-free life at the centre. Thanks to their rescue efforts, G was given a second chance at life and will remain safe for the rest of his days.