It’s very difficult to feel somber as we watch these baby rhinos scurrying around in the freshly cut grass. They are playing with their caretakers who are laughing at their antics. On the surface, this seems like a cute video worthy of internet LOLZ and likes – and it is – but there is another, darker message hidden beneath its lighthearted content. These two rhinos are in the Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation because they have been orphaned, most likely by poachers.
Around three rhinos are killed every day for their horns because Traditional Asian Medicine attributes them with a multitude of beneficial properties such as increasing sexual performance and assisting with infertility – none these claims are true. After the poachers take the horn they leave the mutilated rhino to bleed out and while most die, the few that do survive are terribly disfigured. Poachers tend to go after mothers with young babies around the age of these two. It takes a long time for a female rhino to recover after giving birth and the whole time she is recuperating, she is also caring for her new baby. This added burden slows and weakens new mothers and makes them easy prey for hunters. Over 90 percent of young, orphaned rhinos die.
So we should smile as we see these two baby rhinos running circles around their caretakers, but we should also be aware of why they are in a sanctuary instead of out in the wild with their own mothers. Some conservationists estimate that, unless we can do something drastic to stop the ivory trade and the murder of these innocent creatures, rhinos will be extinct in under ten years.
To learn how to get more involved, visit the Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation’s website to learn more. We can fight against this barbaric practice by speaking out against the injustices of the ivory trade.