Why this baby rhino needs human cuddles

23:30, Jun 10 2014

A heartbreaking video has captured an orphaned baby rhino snuggling up to its keeper, unable to sleep alone after its mother was killed by poachers.

Four-month-old Gertjie was rescued from the wild by staff at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa.

He was found lying next to his mother's body, who had been killed for her horn.

According to the centre, baby Gertjie refused to leave his mother's side, and was "crying inconsolably" for her.

He spent his first night at the centre with a human minder, as well as a tame sheep named Skaap, who acts as a surrogate mother to the baby animals there.

Gertjie is afraid of sleeping alone and will only rest when he is cuddled up to someone. So his keepers take it in turns to feed him every three hours, and stay with him in his enclosure.

He is said to be slowly gaining confidence and enjoying two walks a day to build up his strength. He also loves mud baths, his keepers say.

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