Rhinos were once found all over Africa, with as many as 500,000 animals roaming the continent at the beginning of the 20th century. However, like the African elephant, poaching has taken a terrible toll on this species, with one rhino now being killed for its horn every eight hours. In 2011, the black rhino was officially declared extinct, with the other four species of rhino all on the critically endangered list. The largest populations of rhinos are now living in South Africa, which has become ground zero for both the conservation efforts and the fight against poachers. Because of this, the work being done at the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage is so important.

The Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage is home to a large number of orphaned baby rhinos. Unfortunately, this is also the case for baby elephants, who are also becoming orphans at an accelerated rate due to ivory poaching. Without the help of dedicated conservation groups, these helpless baby animals would have nowhere else to turn. Luckily, the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage has an open door policy to all orphans needing their help.

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When two week old Ellie Showed up At the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, he was in terrible shape. Suffering from an abscess on his navel and a terrible case of septicemia, he required round the clock care and extensive emotional support.

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Elephants, like rhinos, are highly emotional animals who depend on the love and support of their mothers for up to two years after they are born.  Watching their mothers get brutally murdered is as traumatizing for animals as it would be for humans. Luckily, the caretakers at this sanctuary are full of love and support to quiet and heal these babies.

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Soon, baby Ellie’s health improved, and he began to settle into his new life.

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A few weeks later, he was a good as new, thanks to all of the time and dedication of Thula Thula’s hardworking staff.

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Soon, Ellie, like his rhino foster family will begin to learn the necessary skills to be released back into the wild. This is a long-term process, but a necessary step to aid in the conservation of these animals. If you would like to help the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage on their lifesaving rescue missions, you can visit their Facebook page by clicking here.

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All image source: Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage/Facebook