Orphaned baby rhino Gertjie can’t sleep on own after witnessing mother’s death

Baby rhino Gertjie lost his mother to rhino poachers in May 2014.

He was taken to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa which specializes in the treatment of orphaned or injured animals.

Little G as the staff calls him was probably born around Feb 19th. The 136 kilograms (312 pounds) four months old baby rhino was found next to his dead mother who had been tragically and brutally poached for her horn.

In a statement, HESC said the discovery of the baby rhino was heartwrenching.

It was a devastating sight, as the tiny animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her.” 

Baby rhinos are only weened at 15 to 18 months so there is no way he would have been able to survive in the wild on his own.

So now HESC is his new home, and he will be cared for and rehabilitated there until he can hopefully be reintroduced into a wildlife reserve.

But Little G is unable to sleep without company.

At first he could only sleep when around the keepers at the centre.

He now gets relaxed a little around sheep but first he had to chase them around a little. They have big sheep and little sheep with Little G. 

The bigger sheep is quite old and has been with a variety of different animals, this is the first time the younger sheep has been introduced with something else other than her own species.

The older sheep is only in there to protect the youngster ( you will see how she dominates Gertjie) and to get her relaxed with him.  As soon as we see that no harm will come to the younger sheep or Little G, the older sheep will be removed. 

The youngster would still want to bond and follow something, with the older sheep out it would only leave Gertjie for her to bond with.

We didn’t just put the sheep in with him and left them, we had them in a second house earlier today, and we will now monitor them on Africam.  This way we can rule out any human interference, and will know for certain how they react towards each other.

Photo credit: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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