Orphaned Baby Rhino Scared To Sleep Alone At Night After Mother Killed By Poachers (PHOTOS)


At least 442 rhinos have been slaughtered in South Africa this year, hunted for their horns that can often be worth more than their weight in gold. Despite ongoing attempts to save this endangered species, poachers are killing these animals in record numbers, leaving many newborns to fend for themselves, including a 4-month old rhino named Gertjie.

Rescuer workers at South Africa's Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre have been rehabilitating the little fellow since May after he was found next to his dead mother who had been killed by poachers.

"It was a devastating sight, as the tiny animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her," the group wrote in a blog post.

Gertjie spent his first night in the company of caretakers at the Centre, including a surrogate sheep named Skapp, to help him adjust to his first night living without a mother. He spends most of his "sleep time" with others as he's afraid to be alone at night, but Gertjie has been adapting to his new life, going on walks twice a day and taking as many mud baths as he can muster.

Take a look at some photos of the little guy below (and watch a live stream of him being fed here), and if you'd like to help Gertjie grow up into a big, strong rhino, consider donating to the HESC to help them purchase the fat-free milk he'll need to drink until he's 15 to 18-months-old.

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