Brace Baby Rhino: Surviving a Brutal Attack, Finds Comfort in Cuddles With Rescuers

“My favorite thing about her is that she nibbles on my arm during the night when she’s hungry and wants milk.”

When poachers attacked J’aime’s mom, the baby rhino probably tried to protect her. She might have charged the poachers, or placed her tiny body between her mom and the poachers’ weapons.

But in the end, the 4-week-old rhino couldn’t save her mom. Not only did the poachers kill her mother, but they hacked off her horns, which they would sell for thousands of dollars.

J’aime survived the attack, but she didn’t come out unscathed. The poachers had stabbed her three times in her back.

Rescuers found J’aime alone in the bush, and they arranged for The Rhino Orphanage (TRO) in the Limpopo Province of South Africa to pick her up.

The TRO team named the baby rhino J’aime (which means “I love” in French) to commemorate the rhino recently poached for his horns at a zoo near Paris, France.

Despite her stab wounds, J’aime was in a stable condition, and vets were able to treat her injuries. The main thing the TRO team worried about was getting J’aime to drink milk from a bottle.

Even though she probably missed her mom, J’aime took to the bottle right away. In fact, she couldn’t get enough of it.

“Whenever it’s close to milk time, she whines and talks to let her carers know she’s hungry,” Jamie Traynor, the manager at TRO, told The Dodo.

If she gets impatient, J’aime will even try to suckle at her carers.

“My favorite thing about her is that she nibbles on my arm during the night when she’s hungry and wants milk,” Traynor said.

It’s not just milk that J’aime wants – she also wants oodles of cuddles.

“She loves to lie with her carers as close as she possibly can,” Traynor said.

To help J’aime feel secure and safe, the carers take turns sleeping next to her. And like all babies, J’aime loves to sleep.

J’aime is currently the tiniest rhino at the orphanage, so she hasn’t yet been introduced to the other rhino orphans. But based on the size of J’aime’s feet, Traynor expects her to grow much, much bigger.

“She has adorable feet!” Traynor said. “They are too big for her body so when she runs all you see is her big feet.”

When J’aime’s about 3 years old, she’ll be able to be released back into the wild, and it’s Traynor’s hope that she’ll be able to life a peaceful, quiet life – away from poachers.

“Her future looks good!” Traynor said.

To help pay for J’aime’s medical bills, and to help TRO rescue and rehabilitate other rhino orphans, you can make a donation.

Sia

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