Miracle Baby Rhino Born to Parents Orphaned Through Poaching in World First

A miracle baby rhino whose parents were both orphaned by poachers has been born in South Africa. The Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary said that the birth made "rhino conservation history" as it is the first ever calf to be born to two orphaned rhinos.

The 8-year-old southern white rhino, Wyntir, gave birth to the healthy baby girl on February 13. In a Facebook post, which can be found here, Care for Wild said: "This miracle baby is the world's first rhino calf whose parents were both orphaned due to poaching, and who was conceived and delivered naturally."

The sanctuary said South Africa is "the center of the rhino poaching war."

African rhinos are poached for the illegal trade on their horns. The trade has surged over the last decade, driven by increased demand for the horn in Vietnam. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine for many ailments, including lowering fevers and treating disorders such as rheumatism and gout. However there is no scientific evidence to support its use. Horns are also bought purely as a symbol of wealth.

Kruger National Park has seen a 75 percent decline in southern white rhino populations since 2011. Due to years of conservation efforts, the overall population has increased, however the species is still classed as 'near threatened.' National Geographic estimates there are 19,600 to 21,000 southern white rhinos left in protected areas and private game reserves.

Care for Wild rescued Wyntir about eight years ago when she was found "alone and defenseless" in the Kingfisherspruit area of Kruger National Park after poachers killed her mother. She was just 2 months old and weighed 107kg (235lb.)

Wyntir was then attacked by hyenas who ripped off her ears and caused severe wounds.

The father, Storm, was orphaned in the Limpopo area of South Africa just over ten years ago. Poachers killed his entire family when he was just four weeks old.

After being brought to the sanctuary, Wyntir and Storm underwent extensive care and rehabilitation. Once they had recovered, they were released back into the wild under the protection of guards.

Care for Wild described the birth as a "monumental and emotional moment."

"I look at both Wyntir and Storm and all in one moment I see their whole journey," Care for Wild CEO and founder Petronel Nieuwoudt said in a statement. "Every second of struggle, every hour of effort, every sacrifice and every person who gave everything to save them...this baby is a symbol of the life and light that is possible. She is hope for the species and for humanity. Rhinos belong to the world and it is all of our responsibility to save them."

The sanctuary said that more orphaned rhinos are expected to give birth soon.

Rhinos
A stock photo shows a rhino calf with its mother. In Africa, calves are often left defenceless when their mothers are killed by poachers. www.one-fotoagentur.de/Getty Images