Thompsons Africa is a proud supporter of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC).
When we made a decision to partner with HESC and support their Rescued Rhinos @ HESC programme, there were just 4 orphaned rhinos in their care. How sad and shocking that today, they take care of 10!!!
Lion’s Den, Dingle Dell and Philippa have become their ‘Victims to Victors’ ambassadors. Lion’s Den and Dingle Dell were 2 of 3 poached rhinos who survived their attack. After extensive treatment and rehabilitation, the use of biodegradable fibreglass nasal casts and continuous monitoring and disinfecting, both are healthy and happy in their new home.
Philippa was two and a half years old when found next to her dead mother with serious injuries after her horn was hacked off with a chainsaw. She has undergone several treatments to clean and close her wound, and a cast has been moulded specifically for her.
On the 7 May 2014, Gertjie, an orphaned rhino calf, was brought to the centre. He was found at the side of his dehorned mother. Traumatised, Gertjie’s many nights spent inconsolable demonstrated the cruel and inhumane nature of the rhino horn trade.
In November of the same year, Matimba was found in a similar fashion. Very young and weighing only 60 kg, the centre had to provide around-the-clock care to ensure he pulled through. True to his name though (Matimba means ‘strength’ or ‘power’ in local Shangaan), Matimba survived. Following the pair’s amusing introduction, with the addition of ‘Lammie’ – Gertjie’s sheep surrogate mother, both Gertjie and Matimba have bonded and look forward to a more positive future.
On 10 November 2015, Stompie arrived at the centre via helicopter from a reserve in the Hoedspruit area. Estimated to be 7 months old, the calf’s mother had died as a result of the injuries inflicted by poachers. Without his mother’s protection, the calf was found without a tail and severely mauled. This required reconstructive surgery, but fortunately he has made a full recovery.
Balu, another orphaned rhino, arrived within days of Stompie. At two weeks old, he was scrawny and barely weighed 54 kg. It was thought that he may have survived on his own for a few days after his mother’s death. Unfortunately the circumstances leading to him being orphaned are unknown. He and Stompie have established a strong bond – so much so that Stompie never leaves Balu’s side.
On Wednesday 13 April 2016, another young rhino bull was brought to the centre. Estimated to be approximately two weeks old and weighing only 41 kg, he had been discovered by a field guide on one of our neighbouring properties. The field guide had noticed that the baby was being rejected by his mother as she repeatedly pushed him away when he tried to suckle. It is suspected that the mother’s milk may have dried up due to the extreme drought being experienced in the region. Nhlanhla (affectionately known as Baby N) had no chance of survival without human intervention. The exhausted, dehydrated and emaciated baby was brought to HESC for immediate and urgent care.
On Sunday 24 April, a couple of days after Baby N’s arrival, HESC took acceptance of yet another orphaned baby rhino whose mother had been savagely mauled by poachers and her horn hacked off. Olivia, as she was named, was found next to her mother’s lifeless carcass. She was estimated to be between 2 and 3 months old and weighed 141 kg upon arrival.
On 4 May 2016 another rhino was brought in after having been found stuck in mud on a private nature reserve. It was suspected that Muddy had been abandoned by his crash when they couldn’t free him. He was thought to be around two weeks old and weighed 50 kg when he was brought in. Muddy’s arrival brought to ten the number of Rescued Rhinos @ HESC at the centre.
Sadly Muddy passed away on 6th July 2016. Muddy started having trouble with his breathing around the beginning of July, following a bout of diarrhea a few days earlier. A vet confirmed that he in fact had pneumonia and was placed on treatment. Despite everything that was done to nurse the young rhino back to health, he unfortunately didn’t make it.
A postmortem revealed that he had a large amount of blood in his heart sack, and a tear in his right atrium. The cause of his death was ruled as heart failure, which could have been neither anticipated nor prevented.
On Saturday 21st May 2016 HESC took in another orphaned rhino cow. The calf had been spotted roaming alone by a ranger on a game drive at a neighbouring property. The ranger called for help, and eventually the baby rhino was tracked down and found next to her dead mother’s carcass. The calf was in distress and appeared to have blood over its face, which was from lying down next to her mother’s dead body. The baby rhino also had minor bite wounds on her back, possibly from a hyena attack.
This rhino calf was named Khulula (which means ‘to rescue’ or ‘set free’ in Zulu), and is estimated to be about 4 months old. She took well to the bottle from the onset, and weighs 136 kg.
Fundraising for the Rhinos
Sadly the number of injured and orphaned rhinos arriving at HESC is likely to increase in the immediate future, therefore HESC has begun the costly process of expanding rhino enclosures and installing essential security. With suitable security systems projected to cost over R5 million, it is a challenge.
You CAN make a difference. Every single cent counts! There are a number of ways to make donations to HESC. ASK ME HOW… firstname.lastname@example.org