29 Saturday June- This just in from the Rhino Orphanage:
A young rhino bought to act as a surrogate parent to orphaned babies has been shot and killed and his horn removed while a young female has been shot and wounded.
The five-year-old bull white rhino named Mike was killed at Legend Golf & Safari Resort in Limpopo while his fellow free-ranging surrogate parent Nana is being treated for gunshot wounds. Her condition is being assessed by specialists.
The resort is also home to The Rhino Orphanage, a centre which forms a vital part of the EWT Rhino Response Strategy, which was not breached or attacked.
Mike was donated by suppliers to health company Netcare to help raise orphans of the war being waged on South Africa’s rhino population.
The resort and The Rhino Orphanage were on a full security alert and now ADDITIONAL measures are being taken to protect the orphans and the staff on site.
A specialist emergency armed response team has been deployed and will remain at the site while whatever ADDITIONAL security measures deemed necessary are implemented.
Karen Trendler coordinates the Rhino Response Strategy and manages The Rhino Orphanage and says while staff are shocked and horrified, Mike’s death has acted as an inspiration to fight the battle even more vigorously. And she said everything possible is being done to help Nana.
She said: “We were all so fond of Mike and his death is a horrific tragedy. But we will not bow to this slaughter and have taken yet more action to try with all our power to protect the little ones and the staff who do such amazing work caring for them.
“The orphans are all safe and well as are the staff and The Orphanage was not breached. People must realise that this is a real war where the bad guys will do all they can in the name of greed and money. No animal is 100% safe but people should know we are doing everything in our power to preserve and protect the orphans. And the medical teams treating Nana are as good as it gets.”
The specialist emergency armed response team now stationed at the resort have access to air support in the form of the resort helicopter which has been made available for daily patrol flights and specialist anti-poaching operations.
This has been done in the past but operations have been intensified at the direction of Legend Lodges Hotels & Resort CEO Peet Cilliers will the full support of Managing Director Mart Cilliers.
Mr Cilliers said: “We are all horrified at this barbaric act and Mart and myself have put the full resource of the resort at the disposal of the experts who are doing an amazing job in attempting to battle the poachers and help the orphans. Our immediate response includes use of the helicopter and a variety of other measures. Like Karen and her team we are determined that we will not be shaken from our course of rehabilitating and saving orphaned rhinos despite this tragic incident.”
Meanwhile, specialist investigators are probing how the poachers attacked the rhino and are assisting the police and other agencies.
Karen Trendler said Mike’s death shows the scale of the problem and the need for international intervention. She said: “We know this horrific slaughter is funding international terrorism – that’s how serious this is. But our work will continue to try and save the species.
“The numbers are shocking and The Rhino Orphanage is still gearing up for an influx of the victims of this tragedy. Calves are the neglected victims – orphaned, traumatised and often frequently injured they need intensive and specialised care. Calves remain with the mothers for three years and sometimes more – we need to treat the trauma and injuries and provide the maternal care that has been brutally denied by the poachers. The calves need amazing amounts of dedicated, specialist care – and that’s why we created The Rhino Orphanage.
“We have specially trained carers, specialist facilities, and some amazing supporters who make our work possible. Now more than ever we are working with our friends to continue what we started.”
The orphanage has specialist facilities to care for these often extremely young and badly injured creatures, giving the babies the very best chance of one day returning to the wild where they belong.
It is further supported by a range of partners including FNB Investment Products, New Holland, Lafarge and others.
This comes after the good news of the orphanage finally receiving a rhino ambulance to help with transporting and treating the orphaned calves from the point of location where the mothers are poached.
Somehow this attack seems so much more personal and viscious, the poachers invading the refuge where the babies only chance of survival lies.
If any of you are able to make a donation, now would be a very good time. http://therhinoorphanage.co.za/sample-page