At just four weeks old, a baby white rhino named J’aime, was left for dead by poachers after they stabbed her three times in her back.
The poachers killed her mother, hacking off her horns to be sold for thousands of dollars, leaving J’aime to her fate. It could be that she tried to protect her mother, getting in the way of the poachers and receiving stabs wounds for her efforts.
After the rhino crisis ‘took a turn for the worse’, with 16 rhinos being killed in the space of two days across South Africa, J’aime was found alone in the bush in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Her rescuers quickly got in touch with The Rhino orphanage to come and collect her.
Little J’aime arrived safely at the orphanage where she was in a stable condition and under the careful watch of a dedicated team. They named her J’aime (‘I Love’ in French) to commemorate the recent loss of the poached rhino in a French zoo.
The initial worry for a baby rhino in a new environment, and after such an ordeal, is that she may not take to a bottle. Fortunately J’aime took to the bottle well and has begun the process of settling in to her new home quickly.
She has already known for being very vocal, nibbling on her carers arms to let them know she’s hungry.
“Whenever it’s close to milk time, she whines and talks to let her carers know she’s hungry,” Jamie Traynor, the manager at the orphanage, told The Dodo.
In order to make sure J’aime is as healthy and happy as she can be, the carers take turns sleeping with her ‘so she’s knows she’s not alone’.
“She loves to lie with her carers as close as she possibly can,” Traynor told The Dodo.
Weighing in at 100kg, when she wakes up she goes through a lot of milk, drinking up to 12L of milk per day! The latest is that J’aime is recovering very well, and with her wounds healing her character has started to shine through.
‘Her sweet personality is starting to shine through and everyone at TRO is already in love with little J’aime.’
When around three years old, she’ll be able to be released back into the wild, hopefully to live a peaceful life free of poachers and tragedy.
To HELP J’aime and other rhinos like her at the orphanage, you can make a donation here.