4-week-old rhino rescued after suffering brutal injuries trying to protect mother from poachers


A baby rhino is on the mend after surviving a traumatizing poacher attack. His name is Arthur, and while his young past is fraught with pain, there is hope for his future.

It was May 20 when Arthur was rhino-ing around with his mother at Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa. Arthur was just 4 weeks old.

A group of poachers had their eyes on Arthur’s mother, and when the time was right, they attacked.

Wielding machetes, the poachers intended to kill Arthur’s mother — but Arthur tried to stop them.

The brave little rhino stood up to the poachers, but he was no match for their weapons. Arthur’s mother did not survive the attack, and Arthur was left with severe machete wounds.


“Baby rhinos commonly die from emotional trauma rather than wounds‚ especially when they are separated from their mother,” said Michelle Potgieter. Potgieter is a rhino sanctuary volunteer who started the initiative to help the now-orphaned Arthur.

“Arthur required tender loving care‚ a gentle touch and an expert wound specialist to nurse him to health in a safe‚ secret and private rehabilitation environment,” Potgeiter explained.

Thankfully, the rhino sanctuary was able to turn to the expertise of Liz Wilson-Chandler, a specialized wound-care nurse.

Wilson-Chandler is also a team member of Gift of the Givers, a nonprofit relief organization based in South Africa. Gift of the Givers rallied support for Arthur, who needed medical supplies and specialized care.

Potgeiter said Arthur is making a slow, but steady recovery. She is optimistic that the baby rhino will recover from his traumatic ordeal.


“He is jumping and playing around so it shows he is getting better,” Potgeiter said. “It’s a process though.”

Gift of the Givers has been overwhelmed with support for Arthur. The organization now has enough surplus to send to other animal sanctuaries in need of supplies.

“Surplus stock can now be used to assist rhinos in various sanctuaries throughout South Africa,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “Calls for assistance have been received as far afield as Namibia.”

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