We all know about the horrific acts that poachers perform on rhinos to steal their horns, but what happens to the young rhinos left behind, motherless?
It’s not hard to hate a poacher.
They serve no beneficial purpose to the world or the society in which they live. They torture and slaughter animals to produce fake medicine and trophies for the highest bidder. They kill wildlife protectors, and have expressed time and time again that they have no value for life – animal, human, or otherwise.
No, it is indeed not difficult to hate these people for who they are or what they do, and stopping them has proven to be difficult despite laws, regulations, and anti-poaching campaigns. One would have to ask – what does it take for us to stop the poaching epidemic? Personally, I learn best from empathizing.
Imagine, just for a second, that you are a small child, out for lunch with your mother.
Out of nowhere, a group of men come up to your mother and, right in front of your eyes, slice off one of her body parts and leave her for dead. You jump out of your chair in shock, but you are only a child and you cannot attack or hurt or even manage to follow your mother’s killers. You hold her in your arms as she bleeds to death, with no one stopping to help.
That is the story of Gertjie, a four-month old baby rhino who was found crying inconsolably next to his mother’s corpse. The poachers had taken her for her horn, and left Gertjie to fend for himself – most likely to die. Luckily for Gertjie the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) in South Africa found him before a predator could. They were forced to tranquilize him in order to get him to leave his mother to transport him back to their facilities.
After the rescue, the HESC release the following statement:
“A three-month-old baby rhino, anticipated to have been born on [or] around the 19 February, was brought to the HESC after being found next to his dead mother who had been tragically and brutally poached for her horn. It was a devastating sight, as the tiny animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her.”
Gertjie, or Little ‘G’ as the staff calls him, requires a special handler to provide him with comfort and companionship as he slowly recovers from his traumatic experience. He is also joined by Skaap, a mothering goat that lives at the facilities and helps motherless animals transition. You can watch videos of the workers interacting with Gertjie below:
HESC is looking for donations to continue rehabilitating Gertjie, and is also providing a webcam where you can watch his progress.
For more information about how to donate, please click HERE.
To view the webcam of Gertjie’s recovery, please click HERE.
Poaching is an ongoing issue not only in South Africa but around the world and sometimes, right in our back yard. We must work together to support organizations that deal with the aftermath of poaching while also becoming involved in the ongoing discussion of how we can stop it.
For more information on anti-poaching efforts, please visit the International Anti-Poaching Foundation HERE.
What do you think we can do to deter poaching? Is this something you have to deal with in your parts? Sound off in the comments below.
Original Story via: The Independent