Posts Tagged With: Animal Orphans

To a Poacher

mom and babe ele 4I need to make a difference
I want to change your mind.
I’m begging you to see them
through my eyes.
Mother and child,
Lovers, cousins, friends
They raise their babies
they mourn their dead.
Close your eyes and listen brother
do you hear their pain?mom and baby rhino 1
Tearing families apart
you kill, you wound, you maim!
A mother lies trembling in her blood
listening to her baby cry
knowing she can’t protect him now
the pain excruciating, as she slowly dies.
How will you explain to your daughter
killing for cold bloody cash?
And what will you do
when your next one may be the very last?

By: Tisha Wardlow

Categories: Poetry & Art, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Agam, the Sumatran Elephant Orphan


At only 3 months of age, Agam was found trapped in a well. Alone, scared, abandoned, he was rescued and placed in the PLG Saree in Indonesia where he is being rehabilitated.

At 10 months old, Agam is still being fed milk supplements around the clock to make up for the nutrients he’s missing from his mother’s milk. In the wild, babies nurse 4-5 years, until the birth of the next calf.

In Aceh, Indonesia, Agam is one of three orphan elephants who have required emergency care in the area. The other two orphans, Raja and Raju, sadly did not survive. Motherless elephants have a high mortality rate. It is a long, uphill battle to successfully raise and rehabilitate them.

These orphans are the outcome of the human-elephant conflict present in Indonesia. In fact in most countries across the Asian elephant’s range, it has replaced poaching as the major human cause of elephant mortality.

Under pressure from higher population densities and lack of fodder, elephant populations are increasingly turning to crop raiding for sustenance. Interestingly, it’s not just the search of food that attracts elephants to villages, but alcohol. When they smell alcohol brewing, they have been known to attack and destroy villages to get to it.

This overlapping of territory, and fragmenting of their usual space and routes, is pushing the Asian Elephant into the brink of extinction. The population is estimated to have dropped 50-75% in the last 60 years.

An iPledge campaign is up and running to enable the purchase of Agam’s life-saving supplements.                        Support Agam here.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Hooligans


Hooligans at play!

South Africa’s Rhino Orphanage is home to three special residents: Ntombi, Nkwe and Pemba. They are affectionately referred to as the Hooligans. The three have all lost their mothers due to poaching, but have found a degree of normalcy and solace in each other.

hooligans 1

The welcoming committee for the newest orphan resident.

hooligans 3 sleeping

Even mischief-making hooligans need their sleep at the end of a long day.

The rhino who are rescued and brought to the Orphanage get a second chance at life, yet what happens to them when they are rehabilitated and released into the wild? The same danger still awaits them. To date, 556 rhino have been poached this year alone. Their future is in question. The Asian demand for horn is destroying the rhino.

Please sign: Stop Rhino Poaching AWF (African Wildlife Foundation)

Call for US to Reject SA Rhino Horn Trade

Call for UK to Reject SA Rhino Horn Trade

To donate go to: The Rhino Orphanage to help them continue caring for the Hooligans.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mahout (Keeper) For a Night

“I once had the opportunity to visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, while filming an episode of my show. I was designated as the mahout-or keeper-for the night of a 3-month-old calf that had lost his family to poachers. As we bedded down in his cage, my main job was to make sure the 350-pound calf had the tactile contact with me that he needed to sleep peacefully. Things began well enough, with him nodding off easily, but in the middle of the night, I felt a knocking at my back. He was having a nightmare, and I instinctively cupped his eyes so he couldn’t see the light from the oil lamp hanging from the ceiling. The trembling of his trunk slowed, and his breathing softened. Just as he was drifting off again, he started to twist a lock of my hair with the tip of his trunk. All 40,000 muscles in that miniature proboscis were working together to make sure that its tip-which is 10 times more sensitive than a human finger-brought him the soothing contact he needed. Suddenly, I grasped the trauma that a creature this sensitive must experience in the presence of a poacher’s brutality.”

-excerpt from Jeff Corwin 100 Heartbeats

Mahouts sleep with the orphans every night.

Mahouts at Sheldrick sleep with the orphans every night.

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Rhino of the Week: Ntombi

Ntombi's wounds.

Ntombi’s wounds.

There are so many amazing stories about our magnificent pachyderms, I thought it’d be fitting to spotlight one each week. Some are miraculous like Thandi, and others heartbreaking, but they all bring a face to their cause.

This week is about Ntombi. Her name means “lady” but perhaps “warrior” would’ve been more fitting. The two month old rhino was with her mother when they were attacked by poachers. The mother was dehorned and killed and Ntombi was slashed 18 times with machetes and axes. It is believed she approached the poachers when they were attacking her mother, perhaps in an effort to defend her.

She is currently living at the Rhino Orphanage (see site I have listed ), and recovering from wounds through her horn and sinus areas. Some of the cuts appear quite deep. As if its not bad enough, the poor girl is also uncomfortable from teething!

Hopefully she will continue to recover.

Ntombi with her caregiver at the Rhino Orphanage.

Ntombi with her caregiver at the Rhino Orphanage.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thandi’s Story

Thandi found poached.

Thandi found poached.

Thandi recovered.

Thandi recovered.

Amidst the hundreds of rhinos slaughtered in 2012, one rhino beat the odds. Her name is Thandi.

In early March of 2012 three rhinos were found poached in the Kariega Game Reserve. One immediately
died. The remaining two made it through the night. The survivors-Thandi (meaning love) and Themba
(meaning hope) were tended to with intense veterinary care.

Unfortunately after 24 days, Themba died.

Thandi lived. She fought a long, painful battle, but miraculously recovered. She lives without a
horn, without her companions, but she lives with hope. Perhaps the one thing that almost killed her
(having a horn) will now be her salvation.

To follow more about Thandi’s story go to or

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Clock is Ticking

January 7, 2013

4…FOUR rhinos slaughtered already, only seven days into the year. As I sit in my warm house,
a continent away these creatures are living every second in peril. Poachers have brought these
animals to the brink of extinction. Yet they can’t be solely blamed.

It’s a matter of what people value. We live in a throw-away, impulsive society. Everyone wants
the quick fix, the immediate answer. The greedy value the almighty dollar more than their own
lives, certainly far more than the life of a rhino. And the desperate value the supposedly
medicinal fix from the horn. With the demand from China growing, the cost on a rhino’s head is
growing as well-currently $65,000 a kilo.

Rhinos have existed for 50 million years, yet in just the last 30 years, 90% have been wiped out.

2012 was the deadliest year for the rhinos with reports of 633-668 killed in South Africa alone.

Ridiculous, insane, but this IS real. This is a worldwide tragedy. How many of us see the
big picture? How soon before the rhino is extinct? And the scary question-who’s next?

rhino graphic 2

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