Rhino Revolution has successfully released five orphaned rhino calves back into the wild. The calves were all victims of poaching – their mothers murdered for their horns.
"We are extremely proud of these wonderful end results. A glimmer of hope in the poaching war" Phil Ovens, CEO Rhino Revolution.
They were rescued and rehabilitated by Rhino Revolution over a period of two years – the calves arriving from different reserves and at different ages. They have been cared for at Rhino Revolution’s Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre, outside Hoedspruit. This is a closed facility, with no public access, in order to keep human contact to a minimum. It has always been Rhino Revolution’s aim to raise the orphans to be released back into the wild as undomesticated, self-sustaining animals.
RCVS Veterinary nurses Natalie Rogers and Jade Aldridge have looked after the calves since their arrival. “So much care has gone into looking after these traumatised babies over the years. We are both so delighted that we have achieved what we set out to do, by following our closed facility model - we hope we have given them the best possible chance to be wild rhino”.
The first five calves received at the facility were gradually introduced to each other, and quickly formed a tight sociable group called a crash. Now that they have reached approx. ages of two to three years, they are old enough to fend for themselves in the wild. The calves have all been dehorned, to deter poachers.
They have initially been released onto a secure private reserve, where there are no wild rhino who would fight them for territory. The reserve is protected with security cameras, dog patrols, mounted anti-poaching teams and aerial patrols.
A research study, led by University of Pretoria, is assessing the adaption of the orphans back into the wild. They are being monitored, at a distance, to record body condition, behaviour and their dung analysed to test their dietary health and stress levels.
Once they have settled into their new environment, they will be introduced into a larger section of the conservancy that currently has white rhino - so that they can integrate gradually and when they reach breeding age they can contribute to the wild population.
Rhino Revolution’s Rehabilitation Facility and Orphanage continues to work closely with the private reserves and Kruger, providing the facilities to rescue and care for the traumatised orphans of murdered rhinos. Sadly there is no let-up in the rhino poaching crisis, and our work is more crucial than ever…..
Rhino Revolution is tackling the poaching crisis with a unique three pronged approach – as well as running the Rehabilitation and Orphanage centre, it is also supporting anti-poaching measure in the private reserves, educating and inspiring young students from the local communities though its Green Kidz programme as well as raising awareness around the world about rhino conservation issues.