A rhino handler in South Africa has shared footage of an orphaned baby rhino playing and chasing a cat to highlight the consequences of illegal poaching.
Today (September 22), is World Rhino Day, a day for organisations, NGOs, schools and more, to celebrate these amazing creatures.
Filmed in Limpopo, South Africa, the video shows the baby rhino – who was brought to the sanctuary after poachers killed its mother – chasing a cat and playing with its handler, who filmed the mischievous moment.
You can watch it here:
Jamie Traynor, the handler who filmed the video, said:
We rescue baby rhinos after their mothers have been killed by poachers for their horns. When the babies first arrive we work to get them drinking from a bottle.
Then we try to gain their trust. If the babies are very young we will spend 24/7 by their side. The rhino in this video was one month old when she arrived so we spent all day with her, slept with her, and took her for walks in the bush.
Jamie, who manages The Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo, oversees the care and welfare of the animals, including collecting orphaned rhinos from game reserves, stabilising calves and making the orphans ready for release back into the wild.
Speaking to Medium, Jamie said:
My love for rhinos began when I started working at Moholoholo Rehab Centre. It was there that I met Dani, a 3 month old white rhino, who showed me a side of rhinos that very few people get to see. [sic]
Her mother was being relocated to a safer area due to the rise in rhino poaching. Unfortunately, the stress of the relocation was too much and the rhino aborted her calf and ran off.
Dani was a very special little rhino and had the sweetest personality. She would follow me all around the centre, never leaving my side and this was when I realised how strong the bond was between us. The bond that we form with these baby rhinos is truly amazing and indescribable!
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It’s time to start spreading the word about our amazing rhinos! 🦏🇿🇦🌍 World Rhino Day is only 4 days away! There are so many things to do to help save this incredible species… Spend the day telling everyone you meet why you love rhinos, share rhino stories all over social media, adopt a rhino, donate to your favourite rhino organisation (The Rhino Orphanage 😉) Rhinos are loved all around the world and we all need to work together to save them ❤️
The ultimate goal is, of course, to release the animals back into the wild. According to Save The Rhino, there are less than 70 Javan rhinos left, and less than 80 Sumatran rhinos. Earlier this year, the last male Northern White rhino in the world, died.
World Rhino Day aims to increase awareness about rhinos and how close they are to extinction, as well as the dangers of illegal poaching and to celebrate the awesome animals.
It is always scary releasing rhinos as you don’t know if they’ll be safe from poaching but the ultimate goal when we save rhino calves is to one day see them return to the wild.
It’s a proud moment to see the rhinos overcome their trauma and reach the point of being ready for release.
When baby rhinos first arrive at the orphanage they are terrified and traumatised from losing their mothers. It takes a lot of time and patience to earn their trust but once the bond is formed it really is the most amazing connection with an animal.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication from people like Jamie, The Rhino Orphanage, and World Rhino Day, there’s hope for the future of the rhino population.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.