“Hope,” a South African white rhino, who made international headlines after surviving a brutal poaching attack, died this week at the age of 7.
Hope had her horns hacked off by poachers and left for dead last year in April. But she survived after undergoing 16 surgeries.
Saving the Survivors, a team that specifically takes care of rhinos at risk from poaching, looked after the courageous rhino throughout her ordeal against poachers. Later, they named her “Hope.”
The veterinary team worked effortlessly to help her recover, however, Hope’s condition was very fragile — screws were drilled in her skull during one procedure, but she endured the pain with courage.
During her recovery, the rescue team discovered miraculous signs of the rhino’s smaller horn growing back. "She is a strong girl,” said Dr. Johan Marais, a wildlife surgeon at the University of Pretoria, at the time. “These rhinos are fighters, they are the most resilient. They are prehistoric because they just don’t give up. She’s amazing."
“There are many nights that I lie awake and I worry and I wonder, 'What shall we do next?' It's probably the animal that has challenged me the most in the last 20 years of my life,” Marais added. “It's a good feeling.”
But in a tragic twist of fate, Hope died on Nov. 13.
Saving the Survivors posted the tragic news on their Facebook page, stating the rhino appeared to have died of a bacterial infection in an intestine.
Condolences started pouring in by animal lovers and people who were inspired by Hope’s story and taken aback by the sad news.
Hope, the South African white rhino that survived attack dies of infection https://t.co/ErqJo690Vc— nzherald (@nzherald) November 15, 2016
Rest In Peace dear Hope. May you never feel pain or fear again. https://t.co/hYHll8nADu— Fluffy Jowels (@bull_shih_tzu) November 15, 2016
One of her caretakers shared this heartfelt video on Facebook wishing a final good bye to beloved Hope.
Hope’s inspiring story was made into a documentary last year. She became a face of survival in the fight against rhino poaching and gained a huge international following.