Eyes On Rhinos - Orphan Security Camera
UPDATE: 2 new orphan rhinos have arrived HESC - read about them HERE
This feed is being broadcast LIVE from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC). The camera is located in the bedroom of Little G and Matimba. They are orphaned baby rhinos who were rescued by HESC after their mothers were both killed by poachers. Read their complete story below. If you don't see them on camera they have probably gone for a walk or a mudbath, so check back later.
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The Story of Little G and Matimba
HOEDSPRUIT, South Africa April 7, 2015 – A young orphaned rhino whose mother was killed by poachers is playing big brother to a baby rhino that has just endured the same tragic loss.
Orphaned baby rhino Gertjie, affectionately known as "Little G" was rescued in May, 2014 after his mother was poached for her horn. He was left alone and defenceless at only 3 months old. He was brought to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), that specializes in the treatment of both orphaned and injured animals, and has been under their care ever since. In November, 2014 baby rhino Matimba fell victim to the same crime when his mother was also killed for her horn. Matimba was brought to HESC to be cared for and rehabilitated just like Little G. What no one expected was that the one in charge of his rehab would be Little G himself.
Little G has only just turned one, but you would never know it seeing how he looks after Matimba, now five months old. The two rhinos are inseparable. From their meals, morning walks, mud baths and endless playtime with their toys (which include a set of full size truck tires) they do absolutely everything together. Little G has shown Matimba the ropes, and made the adjustment to life at the centre much easier than it was for him. He leads by example and obviously possesses some unique communication skills that we humans do not. He is extremely protective of Matimba, and will not let him out of his sight.
The global rhino poaching crisis has reached an all-time high with 1215 rhinos poached in South Africa alone during 2014. These senseless killings often result in orphans like Little G and Matimba, so HESC has expanded its facilty to accommodate them and launched a new security initiative called "Eyes On Rhinos". The programme includes in its first phase a security camera with night vision and sound that streams live video from the little rhinos' bedroom. In order to raise awareness and allow the world to also keep a watchful eye on Little G and Matimba, HESC is broadcasting this camera live on the web in partnership with africam.com. Viewers can check in on the two rhinos daily to see what they're up to and how their rehab is going. They can also connect to the HESC donation portal and contribute directly to the care and security of the orphans. All funds raised through the "Eyes On Rhinos" program are channeled directly into the security upgrade of the Rescued Rhinos @ HESC (Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre), South Africa.
The Story of Gertjie (AKA "Little G")
Age: 1 year old Weight: approx 312lbs (136kg)
Why is He Here?:
This is the heartbreaking story of baby rhino Gertjie, affectionately known as “Little G”, who lost his mother to rhino poachers in May 2014. Little G's new home is the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) in South Africa, which specialises in the treatment of orphaned or injured animals.
“ We took custody of a very special animal last night. A 3 month old baby rhino, anticipated to have been born on around the 19th February, was brought to the HESC after being found next to his dead mother who had been tragically and brutally poached for her horn. It was a devastating sight, as the tiny animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably for her.”, reported HESC in an official statement.
Unfortunately, baby rhinos are only weened at 15 to 18 months so there is no way he would have been able to survive in the wild on his own. So now HESC is his new home, and he will be cared for and rehabilitated there until he can hopefully be reintroduced into a wildlife reserve.
Where is this camera located?:
The LIVE camera you are watching is inside little G's bedroom. This is where he sleeps each night and sometimes goes to relax during the day. He has taken full ownership of this room and feels very safe there. Often after his walks and daily activites outside it is his idea to spend a little time inside. Since he needs 24 hour care, the staff from HESC sleep outside right next to his room at night so that they can make sure he is fed every 3 hours.
Milk and vitamin supplements.
Little G has staff from HESC with him at all times. He has constant care and protection. In addition, because of his age and not having a horn he is not a target for poachers. That is why he was left after his mother was attacked.
Did I just see a sheep?:
Yep, there is a sheep that spends time in the area with Little G. The two are bonding, and the sheep acts as second Mom to the baby rhino. Sometimes after he leaves the room she comes in and seems to tidy up a bit.
There are infrared heat lamps inside the room to help keep the baby rhino warm this winter. They are the only light source which is why the camera is always in night mode.
His Daily Routine:
Little G is being cared for and prepped to some day return to a more natual setting by the staff at HESC. Therefore his day can be quite full working with the curators and guides at the centre. Grazing, mud baths, exploring and even playing are part of the little rhino's daily schedule. HESC has seen a number of injured and orphaned animals successfully rehabilitated over the years, and they are hopeful that this will be another happy ending.