In 2007, photographer David Hulme came across a baby black rhino near the body of his poached mother. He took the little orphan to family friends, Anne and Roger Whittall, in Zimbabwe.
They named him Jimmy. Incredibly, they successfully raised him, and he quickly became a part of the family, bonding with Anne and befriending the family dogs. Even years after he was released, he still came to visit them regularly.
The baby southern white rhino was abandoned by mom and found by the Ol Pejeta team when he was only 2 weeks old. Very sick and barely alive, he has made an amazing recovery with the help of caretakers.
Named Ringo, after rhino advocate Ringo Starr, he has been introduced to Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on the planet. The two make quite the pair. Click below to watch more:
There are no limits to the variety of residents taken in at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. With a specialty in cheetahs, they also house a feisty zebra, retired circus lions and poaching survivors Dingle Dell and Lion’s Den.
But in 2014 a special little rhino was brought to the centre; Gertje, or little G, as he affectionately became known. The orphaned little rhino was traumatized after witnessing his mother brutally poached. Even with the diligent compassion and nurture from his human caregivers, he needed something more.
At 3 weeks of age, Lammie was brought to the Centre and introduced to Gertje. The unlikely duo quickly formed a bond, following each other by day, sleeping together in the evenings.
Not long after, Matimba, another orphaned rhino was rescued and introduced to the duo. Once again, without hesitation, Lammie welcomed the new orphan, the odd little family grew to three.
This last year has seen the family grow again, with the addition of orphan rhinos Stompie and Balu. And with the photos of the quartet, as always she is a familiar face never far off.
She is not partial to rhinos, as she recently showed with her mothering skills of Amanzi, the baby elephant.
The now 2 year old lamb has been an integral part to so many lives; part watchdog, part companion, part mother-she is a special girl; playing a larger role in the rehabilitation of her endangered companions.
Although she seems to have no idea. She is simply content with her share of the love, always there to “help” clear the food bowls and receive her pat on the head.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Poaching has made it a priority to save every rhino possible.This means even the most violently injured poaching victims receive the utmost in care; with veterinary staff leaving no stone unturned in their journey to heal and rehabilitate them.
In the July of 2013 the miracle survivor, Thandi underwent a groundbreaking plastic surgery to help repair her gaping wound left from poaching. Four years later, she is mostly recovered, but still experiences her wound opening from time to time.
Never anticipating a rhino could miraculously survive such an attack, it happened yet again with a cow named Hope. This time, this rhino literally lost more than half of her face.
With such a daunting task ahead of them, the veterinary staff constantly strive to find solutions to her recovery. Here is the latest report on Hope from Saving the Survivors:
The wound healing is not progressing as fast as we would like. As you are all aware we have given her a break from the long anaesthetics to give her system time to recover.
Because the healing rate has slowed, we have been in contact with a biotechnology company to explore the various possibilities with regards her healing. To keep it simple (not too sciencey) we are looking at using collagen sheets inserted into the living tissue of the wound to create a wound matrix onto which cells can grow so we can start closing the cavity.
It will most probably be very costly but it is worth every cent if it means we can give this iconic young lady quality of life and long happy healthy future – we owe that to her.
We are still looking at our best options for this very special rhino girl. What we can say with some certainty is that she is mostly pain-free. We hope to have more news for you in the next couple of weeks.
The process of treating these endangered giants has grown from simple bandaging to research, testing and pushing the limits of human creativity. Whether successfully achieving the delicate process of skin grafting or engineering the perfect rhino-proof shield; it is a testament to our determination in saving the species.
Just a few photos of Harapan in his new home at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia. He’s happy and healthy and seems to have transitioned well!
We wanted to share with you the story of resilience and survival this holiday season. Mubuya the rhino, has been beating the odds for most of her life, yet continues to persevere.
In 2005 while moving rhinos from an area overrun with poachers to a safer area in the Bubye Valley, a female rhino named Mabuya was tranquilized and readied for her move. The capture team immediately noticed scars indicating that she had been caught in a neck snare. Later, while drilling into her horn to place a tracking device, the veterinarian noticed an AK-47 bullet was lodged deep within her horn.
She had already survived TWO poaching attempts!
Three years later, Mabuya was in the midst of another attempted poaching. This time when the team arrived at the crime scene, they discovered that Mabuya’s new calf had been killed. She and her sub-adult calf had survived.
Last year, Mabuya was discovered wandering blind and alone, separated from her sub-adult calf. She was quickly captured and brought in for medical attention. She had been shot through one eye and had a severe ulceration on the other. For days, a caretaker visited Mabuya to apply eye medicine and hand-feed her browse she had collected from the surrounding area.
During treatment, she miraculously gave birth yet again to a calf. This calf was later removed for hand rearing when he developed health issues.
Unfortunately, Mabuya never regained her sight. She was taken in for 8 months for closer monitoring and care. Then the decision was made to release her and let her have as normal a life as possible. She shares resources with other rehabilitated rhinos, and is monitored through her tracking chip regularly.
Thanks to our friends at the International Rhino Foundation for supporting Mabuya and the team who tirelessly care for her!
A few weeks ago we said farewell to Harapan, the only Sumatran rhino in North America, as he made his journey to Indonesia. Bittersweet, as he was a huge part of a highly successful conservation program here in the US; but inevitable if we are to do the species justice.
His move will both give him a richer life, and with the highest of hopes bring our world another baby Sumatran or two.
Here is the video of his epic journey.
Everyday there is another poaching, most of the time another life taken. But for the “lucky” few, they survive.
For those rhinos, it’s not just a matter of providing a bit of veterinary care, then sending them on their way. The physical and emotional toll it takes lasts the rest of their days.
A couple of months ago we were in Kariega Reserve and had the privilege of meeting one of my heroes, Thandi, the rhino who cheated what seemed certain death.
On our second siting of Thandi and “baby” Thembi, it was immediately obvious from a distance that something was different. As she moved through the grass, happily grazing with Thembi not far behind, the sun shone off her face showing a glint of red. Moving in closer, there was no doubt it was bloody and raw.
After numerous skin grafts, being anesthetized and treated, this is as good as it will ever be for her. Even the best of veterinary care and creative “bandaging”, cannot hold up to rhino life. There is a bull in the area who does what comes natural, the equivalent of rhino flirting. Through pushes and bumps, the thin skin over her nasal area isn’t as sufficient as the protection of her own horn.
She doesn’t seem to be in pain, as she happily munches her grass or gives Thembi “love taps”. In fact, the blood was the only sign something was wrong.
But as Thembi grows older, Thandi will mate again, hopefully making Thembi a big sister. Rhino mating is not a gentle process!
The Kariega staff and veterinary team keep a close eye on their star. She is in good hands, but seeing the occasional re-opening of the wound is a constant reminder of her struggle, of the long road we are all traveling in the poaching war to prevent other rhinos from the same horrible fate.
It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Jello. He was humanely euthanized on Monday after a decline in health relating to his seizures and neurological issues. He will always hold a special place in our hearts, as the first black rhino we were privileged to meet.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with his caretakers at the Potter Park Zoo. He will be missed.
RIP big guy.
They say you never forget your first love. Mine’s about 5 feet tall, has a bit of an attitude and a very dirty nose. The moment was magical; I called to him, he ignored me, looked up briefly, then turned away obviously unimpressed. But for me, I was in love.
Jello’s the first rhino I’ve officially met. Originally from Miami, he lives at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing MI. The 9-year-old black rhino is handsome (as rhinos go), and laid back. He is well cared for, and knows it. With an attitude remarkably similar to a cat, he comes to you in his own sweet time, but loves the attention once he gets it.
Watching his giant prehensile lip grab for treats, feeling his smooth wrinkled face, and…
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