From: WWF
Published April 6, 2013 08:09 AM

Orphaned Rhino being tenderly cared for

An Indian rhino calf that lost its mother to poachers is clinging to life with the help of conservationists, according to WWF staff assisting with its care. The two week old male is in critical condition after its mother was gunned down by poachers Tuesday and her horn chopped off.

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The shocking incident is the latest in a surge of poaching plaguing India's Assam province where 16 greater one-horned rhinos have been killed already this year.

A team of frontline staff from WWF, the government and partner organizations joined community members to search Manas National Park for the orphan after the carcass of its mother was discovered earlier this week. The group was determined to prevent the calf’s death imminent from starvation, which would surely occur without the nourishment of its mother's milk.

The dehydrated and traumatized calf was located, captured and brought to a safe location for urgent veterinary care. Images of the confused newborn show it cowering in the corner of a store room where it is being held temporarily.

"It was a challenge getting hold of the calf as it was very scared but thankfully it is fine and doing well now," said WWF’s Deba Dutta who was part of the rescue team.

However, the calf's survival is not assured. The animals are highly dependent on their mothers for the first few years of life. Work will soon begin on a special fenced enclosure, or boma, for the calf so that it can be raised by rehabilitation experts. It is possible, but challenging, to successfully reintroduce rhinos to the wild.

Indian Rhino photo via Shutterstock.

Read more at WWF.

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