At this moment in time, humans run the risk of wiping out the wild rhino population in its entirety. In 2011, the Javan rhino was declared extinct and in 2013, the Northern Black rhino suffered the same fate. Following the death of Nola, a Northern White rhino, who lived at the San Diego Safari Park, only three others remain. Humans are to blame for the sad fate of this fascinating species – which, for the record, has existed for over 50 million years (to give you a little perspective, humans have been around for 200,000 years).

The Black Market demand for their characteristic horns has driven rhinos to the brink of extinction. Rhino horns are highly valued due to the belief that they hold medicinal properties. But the truth is, horns are made from keratin, the same material that our hair and nails are made from — so anybody seeking to treat themselves with rhino horn would be just as well off biting their nails.

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It’s estimated that one rhino is killed every eight hours — time is running out. In order to save this species, we must do all that we can to raise awareness for their plight. Nandi, the baby rhino in the photos below, is one example of the many victims claimed by the poaching industry. Nandi’s mother was killed for her horn. Luckily, she was rescued and brought to The Rhino Orphanage, a sanctuary in Zimbabwe.

Nandi the rhino was orphaned after her mother was killed by poachers. She’s only two-months-old.

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Orphan baby rhinos, especially ones as young as Nandi, still have a lot to learn about the world. It’s typical of orphan rhinos to eat anything and everything, including sand. Luckily, she was saved and brought to The Rhino Orphanage.
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Since arriving at the sanctuary, little Nandi has been eating well and seems to be in good health.

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She’ll also need round-the-clock care and the constant presence of a caretaker. Baby rhinos imprint on their mothers and raising one to be a healthy adult usually calls for several caretakers. 

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Nandi may have had a rough start for such a young one, but we know she’s in good hands. According to The Rhino Orphanage, “she is a sassy little character and has already given the girls a few bruises.”

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Thanks to the staff at The Rhino Orphanage, Nandi is doing well. Without their determination to save the species, many orphans would have never been given the chance to grow up. To learn more about The Rhino Orphanage and their residents, visit their official website.

The slow demise of the rhino is a tough pill to swallow, but as humans, there is a lot that we can learn from it. We are often the key drivers in species extinction, including the sixth extinction. By being more aware of how our consumer choices impact the animals we share this planet with, we can ensure a better future for ourselves and all species. The choice to act is ours and ours alone. To learn more about how we can stand up to species extinction, read the following articles:

All image source: The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook