Ringo the baby rhino is an orphan. While the details of how he came to be a resident of Ol Pejeta Conservancy in South Africa are unknown, he now lives with round-the-clock care from volunteers. Unfortunately, it’s likely that Ringo lost his mother to poachers who sought to sell her horn on the black market. How is it that something that’s no different from our fingernails is worth the price of $60,000 per kilo and the destruction of a family?
Without their mothers, baby rhinos are completely helpless and require constant care. Like other baby animals, they imprint on their caretaker. In the case of orphaned rhinos, they’re usually cared for by three different people.
The blanket that Ringo wears in the photo is more than just cute. Baby rhinos need to be tucked into bed with an article of clothing or a blanket that smells like their caretaker because, in the wild, they would always be surrounded by their mother’s familiar scent.
It’s wonderful that Ringo and other orphan rhinos have humans who have dedicated their lives to picking up the pieces of broken families that poaching leaves behind. While these humans deserve all the kudos in their world, their jobs exist because rhinos are being killed for their horns in alarming numbers. The battle to save the rhinos starts with education. To learn more about what rhinos are up against and what we can do, check out this article. Share this post and encourage others to stand up for this struggling species!
Image source: Ami Vitale/Twitter