It was a tragic scene, but one that is becoming too common for wildlife preserves in South Africa. A baby rhino was found by rangers crying next to his mother, who was killed by poachers for her horn, on the Kapama Private Game Reserve. The baby rhino was inconsolable and refused to leave his mother’s side.
Named Gertjie, the baby rhino was transported to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre on May 7, 2014 to be looked after.
Later that evening, the poor traumatized rhino was calm enough to allow Christo Schreiber, their curator, to stroke his head. Gertjie will need constant attention over the next few weeks, while he adapts to his new surroundings.
He is just under 3 months old and gets a special fat-free milk and drinks about 12 litres a day.
He had is first big walk around the Centre a week later and really enjoys them.
The young rhino soon began showing his playful side, like when he chased after the ostriches.
He also got to try a mud bath for the first time. He tasted it first, but quickly preferred rolling in it. (Rhinos in the wild will slather themselves in mud to protect their skin from the elements.) It cheered him up a lot!
And when he has some “down time” Gertjie likes a good snuggle.
Gertjie is recovering well from his traumatic ordeal. And with the rangers at the Centre helping him, he is regaining his confidence every day.
Gertjie will be kept safe at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
To help the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre care for Gertjie, visit their website and learn more about how you can help in the fight to stop other wild rhinos from becoming orphans!
Here is a video from 2019 with Gertjie all grown up with his friend Matimba!
In 2002, there were 300 rhinos in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. Recently, the last rhino was killed in that park and today, there are 0. We hope humans will realize how beautiful these creatures are and how important it is to protect them.
Share Gertjie’s story with your friends and help raise awareness about rhinos like him.