Poaching is a huge problem in Africa with thousands of animals killed each year. African rhinos have been driven to the brink of extinction as a result of poaching. Other animals are also being killed each day.
While adult rhinos are killed for their horns, it is not uncommon for poachers to kill babies as well.
Rescuers recently came across a mother rhino that had been killed by poachers. Her baby had tried to stay with her and was attacked by the poachers as well. While it was too late to save the mother, they took the baby to try to save him.
Petronel Nieuwouldt of the Care for Wild Team said,
“It was instinctive for him to try and stay close to his mother to protect her, and the poachers with no sympathy or hesitation whatsoever lashed out at him so that they could finish their heinous crime of taking his mother’s horn as quickly as possible.”
They helped transport the baby to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, the world’s largest rhino sanctuary and orphanage.
The baby had a huge gash from a machete on his spine. One of his toenails had also been cut to the nailbed. The team called in a plastic surgeon to stitch up the wounds and leave as little scarring as possible. The baby had to be sedated and was given fluids to help him recover properly.
The baby still lives at the rescue center and is doing well.
Rescuers say that he is getting stronger each day, but he still wants his mother. He doesn’t understand why she isn’t there with him and he calls out for her constantly. It’s a heartbreaking ordeal for everyone. They named him Arthur.
The team said,
“He still calls for his mother, it is a heart-wrenching sound and one that he should never have to make. Her death will affect him emotionally long after his physical wounds have healed.”
If the team hadn’t found the baby, he would have likely died from his wounds.
Even if he had survived the attack, he wouldn’t have been able to make it without his mother. Baby rhinos are dependent on their mothers for several years for protection and food. The team explained,
“A rhino calf stays with his mother for up to three years and in that time, she teaches him everything he needs to know, from what to eat and how to keep himself safe. She will teach him how to behave when in the company of other rhino and he will learn everything necessary from her so that he has a good chance of growing into a strong adult. Who is going to teach him now?”
Hopefully, the young rhino can be around other rhinos once he is completely recovered and strong enough to hold his own.
He will likely never be able to be released into the wild, but thanks to the rescue, he will live a safe life. He isn’t the first or last rhino that will be saved by the team.
The Care for Wild Team is made up of volunteers and staff who work together to rescue and provide care for rhinos and other animals that are endangered or hurt. The team is unique in that people can volunteer from anywhere and essentially take a vacation where they also help animals.
Instead of just enjoying Africa for the safaris and tourist attractions, volunteers can also help improve it.
The Care for Wild website says,
“While our scope has grown considerably, our focus and ethos has not changed. We are still proudly wildlife conservation specialists. We continue to help sustain the natural world by supporting ethical and ecologically important initiatives. And we haven’t wavered from our mission to inspire, challenge and empower people to make a difference to wildlife conservation.”
Hopefully, baby Arthur makes a full recovery and the poachers who killed his mother are found and prosecuted. The Care for Wild Team is saving animals and making a difference. There are far too many animals dying at the hands of poachers.
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