An adorable baby rhino is being nursed back to health after he was found “crying inconsolably” next to his dead mother who had been killed by poachers for her horn.
Gertjie, also known as ‘Little G’, has been unable to sleep alone after he was rescued by staff at Hoedspriot Endangered Species Centre (HESC) in South Africa.
Since being brought in from the wild, the calf has been receiving emotional support from the charity’s staff – and from a sheep acting as a surrogate mum.
“A 3-month-old baby rhino, anticipated to have been born on around February 19, was brought to the HESC after being found next to his dead mother who had been tragically and brutally poached for her horn,” HESC said in a statement following the rescue on May 7.
“It was a devastating sight, as the tiny animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her.”
A month later and the conservation centre has set up a 24/7 webcam so people from all over the world can follow Little G’s progress.
Staff, who have grown extremely fond of the special little rhino, have uploaded videos to Facebook of Little G finding his feet and having his first mud bath. The above video shows him having his first big walk after being rescued.
“Gertjie is making great progress,” Kylie Stephen from HESC told BT.com.
“His weight is picking up at a healthy rate and he is feeding enthusiastically.
“He is also really enjoying his walks outside, where he can explore his natural environment.
“The staff at HESC feel incredibly privileged to be able to watch the little guy grow and develop.”
Little G is spending his days taking long walks, mud baths and grazing until he is hopefully released into a wildlife reserve.
The live camera can be viewed at all times but staff recommend people have a look at approximately 6pm, 9pm, 12am and 3am Central African Time - 4pm, 7pm, 10pm and 1am UK time – when he will be fed.
The video stream also shows him sleeping and having cuddles with his woolly surrogate mum – who sometimes appears to clean up when he leaves his bedroom.
Baby rhinos are only weaned at 15 to 18 months so Little G would have been unable to survive in the wild on his own.
To sponsor Little G and the centre, which looks after vulnerable and endangered animals, please visit hesc.co.za/hesc_adoptions/adoptions_.php.
Photo and video credit: HESCCheetahCentre