An animal sanctuary’s worst nightmare has occurred in the South African city of KwaZulu-Natal. Monday night, February 20, two armed men entered the Thula Thula Orphanage, taking staff members hostage, carelessly beating and even sexually assaulting one worker, followed by the brutal killing of two baby white rhinos. Impi and Gugu, the baby rhinos, had come to the rehabilitation centre for rhinos and other animals who have lost their families to poaching. The poachers viciously shot the 18-month-old rhinos and took their horns, killing Gugu instantly and leaving Impi struggling to survive, eventually being euthanized the following day due to his injuries.
Isn’t it heartbreaking enough to consider what these rhinos have already gone through, as they have lost their families to poachers as well? One of the rhinos was found in a pile of its mother’s blood after she was shot. The orphanage made a promise to keep this rhino safe from the same people who took his mother from him. This was a promise they could not keep.
At the rate that these killings are occurring, and if nothing is done to protect rhinos from poachers, we will have no rhinos left by 2020. Poaching MUST stop and there must be better regulations and security to ensure the safety of these beautiful and innocent animals.To Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa:
Dear Jacob Zuma,
Two innocent baby rhinos have been killed on your watch. It is your responsibility to deal with the ongoing issue of poaching in South Africa.
You must provide the funds and resources so that staff and security are trained to be prepared for these types of situations. This is VITAL for the survival of rhinos and to ensure that sanctuaries and orphanages can continue to take care of orphaned animals in the future.
We must be better prepared in order to catch poachers and punish them, rather than allow them to succeed; not just in orphanages, but also national parks, zoos, and anywhere else animal poaching can happen.