A two-and-a-half month old rhino calf was the only survivor of a recent rhino killing spree in South Africa.
The terrified calf was found cowering next to its butchered mother by a team of conservationists who were on a mission to remove the horns of adult rhinos in an effort to prevent them being killed by poachers. In all, three dead rhinos with their horns hacked off were found that day.
Given the name “David,” the rhino calf was small enough to fit into the back of a Land Cruiser safari vehicle. He was transported to the Rhino Orphanage, an organisation that provides a safe place for orphaned rhinos to grow up.
Baby David’s mother was the latest victim of the poaching scourge that has swept across South Africa since 2008, turning the country’s wild areas, including the world-famous Kruger National Park in the northeast, into battlegrounds.
In only a decade, more than 7 245 African rhinos have been lost to poaching. Rhinos are killed for their horns which are used in traditional medicine in Viet Nam and other parts of Asia. Viet Nam’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and demand for rhino horn product is fueled by a rapid rise in purchasing power – more people than ever before can afford to buy rhino horn.
The latest video from the Rhino Orphanage shows that David is recovering well from his ordeal and feeding enthusiastically from a bottle. He has also made a friend of another rhino orphan, a baby called Davide.
The Animal Survival International (formerly Political Animal Lobby)’s sister organisation, Network for Animals, is helping South Africa fight the war on rhino poaching. It supports seven of the 54 sniffer dogs that work for the Kruger National Park’s canine unit. The dogs and the brave men who work with them, hunt down rhino poachers in the huge nature reserve, which is larger than the country of Wales.