Adopt a Rhino Orphan


Species: White Rhino

Gender: Male

Born: October 2023

Griffin is a young male calf who was thought to be just nine weeks old at the time of his rescue and weighed 147kg on his first weigh-in at Zululand Rhino Orphanage.

Tragically he was found next to his mother during her final hours, crying for her attention and even trying to fight off reserve staff and veterinarians as they tried to help her. Sadly, nothing could be done to save his mum.
Once he arrived at Zululand Rhino Orphanage, he took a while to take a bottle of milk, but thanks to the care and persistence of his carers, he soon drank 1.5 litres of milk! 
Arriving just before the 2023 festive season, the rhino carers worked hard providing 24/7 care and around-the-clock milk feeds to help him survive and grow.


Species: White Rhino

Gender: Male

Born: March 2023

Samson was found late one afternoon after the Zululand Rhino Orphanage received a call to say that a rhino carcass had been spotted and a calf was wandering around on their own. He was loaded into the trailer and arrived back at the facility late that day where he slept most of the night. 

Samson is a male rhino orphan weighing 298kg and estimated to be around 7 months old, he was in good condition except for a small puncture wound on his back foot.

He is very calm and very sweet in character. He has settled in well and bonded with fellow rhino orphan Lula, they enjoy a mud wallow together! He was initially very hesitant with humans but calmed down a lot with his carers over his first few weeks at the orphanage. 

He was given the name Samson by the lucky winner of our Name a Rhino Orphan Prize Draw; this name was chosen in honour of the winner’s childhood dog who was a gentle giant, very much like our sweet boy Samson. 


Species: White Rhino

Gender: Male

Born: February 2023

Grumilo, a male rhino orphan was rescued at six months old by our project at Zululand Rhino Orphanage, with his mum believed, sadly, to be a victim of rhino poaching.

Thankfully, the rangers were able to locate the calf quickly, a young male, with no visible wounds but sadly no sign of his mother. The team had no idea how long he had been on his own or what he had suffered, but their priority was to sedate him and load him into the rhino trailer.

Back at the orphanage, trusted vet Trever was waiting for them and met the team as they arrived back to give the calf a check-up and administer medication. On his first weigh-in, he came in at 259kg.

As a wild orphan, the decision was made to put him in a purpose-built crate to help calm him and get him used to the carers. After initially refusing to drink milk, once he started, he drank milk hourly and bonded well with his carers at the same time.


Species: White Rhino

Gender: Female

Born: June 2023

Mulayo, a female rhino orphan was rescued by our project at Zululand Rhino Orphanage, sadly, a victim of rhino poaching and underweight at only 125kg.

In what was one of the most distressing rescues for the team, it was sadly discovered that Mulayo had been injured in the fatal poaching attack on her mother with open wounds to her neck and ear, ultimately resulting in the removal of her left ear. 

Thankfully she is drinking milk, sleeping well and bonding with her dedicated human carers and fellow rhino orphans.

She has been given the name Mulayo, taken from the Zulu word Ekhazimulayo, meaning Radiant, by a generous supporter, perfect for this courageous young rhino who had to overcome so much early on in her life.


Species: White Rhino

Gender: Male

Born: April 2023

Kulula was rescued at just two weeks old after his mother had sadly rejected him and this male rhino calf was far too young and vulnerable to survive on his own. On arrival at the orphanage he was placed immediately in the rhino Intensive Care Unit.  

Thankfully, he took some milk and while being monitored by the team, he gradually began to gain his carers' trust. 

Helping Rhinos Patron, actor Peter Egan, was on site at the time of his rescue and was given the honour of naming the calf and together with the orphanage manager they came up with Kulula (Lula for short) which means ‘Easy’ in the local Zulu language. This name was chosen as Lula found it very easy to settle into his new surroundings. 


Species: White Rhino

Gender: Male

Born: May to June 2022

Msasa, a male rhino orphan, was spotted just a few days into January 2023 and after being found by the helicopter was darted and then loaded into a truck for safe transport to Zululand Rhino Orphanage.

On arrival at the orphanage on a hot day with the awaiting team concerned about his welfare, apart from having sores all over his body, he was in good condition. It is thought he got these sores during his time alone in the bush as it is believed he was alone for at least two weeks.

He has been given the name Msasaneni (Msasa for short) by the rangers who found him, after the area in which he was found.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Male

Born: October 2022

Ukuthula was found by rangers on the ground close to the carcass of his poached mother who reported him and called in a team to rescue him. Weighing in at 105kg, he was estimated to be six weeks old at the time of his rescue.

Despite being an unexpected call first thing in the morning, within half an hour he was airlifted to the Zululand Rhino Orphanage and stabilised inside their intensive care unit. He was given a glucose drip to boost his immune system as he was so small and slept for most of the day. When he woke up, he drank his first milk bottle without any issues. 

Kept alone for two weeks to gain strength and learn to trust the team before being introduced to fellow rhino orphan Bindi, they were together for two nights before being introduced to the rest of the crash.

His name, Ukuthula, was given by the Automobile Association and means ‘Peace’ in the Zulu language but he is known as Ukoo.


Species: White Rhino

Gender: Female

Born: March 2022

Mnene was only two months old when she was found by rangers after her mother had been killed by poachers. She was rescued by helicopter after a dramatic chase where she ran quite a distance and ended up in a river which she had to pulled out of using ropes and the helicopter.

She was then transported to the orphanage in a capture truck. Mnene slept for most of her first night as she was exhausted but luckily she did take the bottle very quickly. She was on a drip for the first 24 hours and then it was removed as she was drinking so well.

Mnene had a bit of a rocky start, but bonded quickly with her carers, crying if she was left alone, even for a very short time.

A week after she arrived, Mnene was introduced to the other two younger rhino calves, Bindi and Vikela and is now a happy and healthy little rhino calf. The three are now inseparable.

Her name, Mnene, was chosen by Helping Rhinos Sponsor Campus Safety Products and means 'Gentle' in Zulu.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Male

Born: October 2021

Vikela was found on alongside his poached mother, another victim of a recent spate of rhino poaching in the area. He was estimated to be around seven months old and too big to transport by helicopter. Members of the orphanage team collected him from the reserve where he was found by trailer and transported him back to the orphanage and straight into intensive care.

The next morning his blindfold and earplugs were removed so that he could get used to seeing and hearing the carers. He wasn’t drinking milk, but once he moved out into the small boma and found a corner where he felt safe, he became used to the presence of the carers and eventually began to take some milk.

After a few days, he was introduced to Bindi. The introduction went smoothly and the two bonded quickly. Bindi made a great introductory rhino friend for Vikela as she herself had only just recently been through the trauma of her mother’s poaching and her subsequent arrival at the orphanage.

His name, Vikela, was chosen by Helping Rhinos Sponsor Campus Safety and means 'Protector' in Zulu.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Female 

Born: October 2021

Bindi was found at six months old after her poached mother had been spotted by rangers. Bindi’s mother was one of the many victims of a recent poaching spike in the area and after the rhino cow’s body was found, it took rangers over three days to find Bindi. It was a very dramatic and traumatic rescue for her. She was so stressed by the whole experience, that she ran for over 3km before the team managed to capture her.

Once she was safely picked up, the rhino calf was rushed to the orphanage and into intensive care. She slept for the first 24 hours, took time to drink milk and then fell ill a couple of weeks after her arrival, diagnosed with capture myopathy and muscle breakdown. This was her body’s way of reacting to the ordeal of being on her own for three days in the wild and the trauma of her mother’s poaching. 

With dedicated love and care from the vets and staff at the orphanage, and Bindi’s own determination, she pulled through and is now thriving.  

Her name, Bindi, means ‘Brave’ in Zulu - a perfect name after all the struggles she faced both alone in the bush and during her rehabilitation.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Male 

Born: January 2022

Tweed was born on a private Game Reserve in the heart of Zululand, South Africa. Tweed was just three months old when his mum was shot by poachers. She wasn't instantly killed by the poachers bullet and did her best to survive, but in the end, she lost her fight for survival and Tweed was rescued and taken to the Zululand Rhino Orphanage.

Named by the owners of the Reserve that Tweed was rescued on, he is already showing an incredible will to survive. To see him bonding with fellow orphan Leko has been heartwarming, but Tweed still has a long way to go and will need the support of everyone to make it back to the wild and live the life of a truly wild rhino.

We have every hope that one day Tweed will be released back into his natural habitat and will hopefully help to increase the population of rhino in the wild.

Inkululeko (Leko)

Species: White rhino

Gender: Male 

Born: April 2021

In April 2021, a one day old white rhino calf was rescued from a private reserve in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa and taken to the Zululand Rhino Orphanage.

The baby rhino, had been found, vulnerable, traumatised and desperately in need of nourishment. Sadly, his mother was unable to provide the first milk he desperately needed; her udders were severely damaged, infected and not functioning.

Inkululeko, meaning ‘Freedom’ in the local Zulu language, is known as ‘Little Guy’ Leko for short and he soon proved to be a strong and feisty character. He survived this traumatic start to his life and is on his way to becoming ‘Big Guy’ Leko who will once again roam free on the plains of Africa where he belongs.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Female 

Born: August 2019

In January 2020, the Zululand Rhino Orphanage got a call to say a white rhino cow had died, leaving behind a six month old female calf.

Her mother died of severe septicaemia caused by an injury sustained from a potential fight with another rhino or elephant. Having watched her personality, her team of carers decided to call her Zimisele, Zimi for short, which means determined or determination in the Zulu language.

Zimi made great progress at the orphanage and has now been released back into the wild with Khula and Bhanoyi where the orphanage team continue to monitor her safety and security.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Male 

Born: August 2018

Bhanoyi was rescued in December 2018 from a private game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa after his mum was brutally poached. Bhanoyi was just four months old.

Bhanoyi had tried to defend his mother from the poachers, and had been hacked with an axe four times in doing so. Despite this, he was on good health when the vet team found him. After running into the thickets everytime the vets tried to dart little Bhanoyi, a helicopter was called for, and after some searching and skilful flying from the pilot, he was able to be darted and transported to the Zululand Rhino Orphanage where he will be cared for night and day until he is old enough and strong enough to be released back into the wild.

This little rhino was given the name Bhanoyi, which means helicopter in the local language, as a tribute to the skills of the helicopter pilot who rescued him.

Bhanoyi made great progress at the orphanage and has now been released back into the wild with Zimi and Khula where the orphanage team continue to monitor his safety and security.


Species: African hippo

Gender: Female 

Born: April 2017

Little Moomin was found on a game reserve in the Eastern Cape in July 2017. She was found huddled up next to her dead mother’s body. It is unknown why Moomin’s mother passed away but she left behind a little three month old calf.

In September 2017, contact was made between the Zululand Rhino Orphanage and the reserve – and it was decided to get Moomin and Charlie together. Charlie, the other hippo at the orphanage, was orphaned at two days old and we had to find him a little hippo mate - Moomin was perfect.

A small fenced pen was built for Moomin inside Charlie’s boma so that they could get used to each other slowly. Moomin and Charlie immediately started sniffing each other through the fence and they snorted at each other calling loudly in their hippo voices every now and then. We were so excited at their initial reaction! After two days of them 'chatting' through the fence it was decided to let Moomin in with Charlie.

This was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time as the team had no idea how they would react, but Moomin would sneak up to Charlie and sniff him from behind in her shy manner. Soon after, she latched onto Charlie and they started getting to know each other! This was the start of a new friendship and it has been incredible watching how quickly their bond has formed.  They spend almost 60% of their day in the water where they chat away and nap in-between. They are a real little hippo pod!


Species: White rhino

Gender: Male

Born: June 2017

Ncengimpilo, or Mpilo for short, was rescued in April 2018 after his mum was poached. Mpilo was found still standing next to his dead mum's body and was in desperate need to food and water. The vet and rescue team got to work and after carrying out initial health checks, Mpilo was taken to specialist facilities at the Zululand Rhino Orphanage. Understandably disorientated, Mpilo was regularly heard calling for his mum. But thanks to dedicated carers at the orphanage, he soon settled down and began to take on the much needed food and drink.

Ncengimpilo means 'the one who fights for life' in Zulu and his name was chosen by the communities surrounding the orphanage.

Mpilo formed a strong bond with fellow orphan Makhosi, and in 2020 both were released back into a life in the wild, where they belong. The orphanage team continue to monitor their safety and security.


Species: African Hippo

Gender: Male 

Born: May 2016

Charlie was abandoned by his pod at just two days old. He was rescued by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and taken to a specialist rehab centre.  It soon became apparent that the little hippo was probably premature, and had a weak suck reflex.

The first few nights he spent curled into his carer's tummy and he needed constant care and monitoring. He loved being covered with a blanket as this seemed to make him feel more secure.

Charlie has a big personality and responded well to care, rapidly regaining strength and appetite. Charlie is an absolute clown, playing and running around with his mouth open. 

At two weeks, Charlie was joined by little rhino Mahkosi, and the two have been close companions since providing comfort to one another. However, in order to be released back into the wild, Charlie needs to learn to be a hippo again. Therefore in December 2017, he was introduced to his new 'girlfriend' - Moomin.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Female

Born: Early 2017

TThis tiny little female white rhino calf was rescued when rangers noticed that at two days after her birth, her weight had dropped dramatically, and she was noticeably weaker. With careful monitoring, it was determined that Mahkosi was so small that she was unable to suckle from the mother and without human intervention would not survive if left in the wild.

On route to the orphanage, the team stopped at a garage and were approached by the Zulu Royal family who expressed interest in the calf (the team were busy setting up drips and trying to stabilize her condition in the back of their vet vehicle). Queen Zwelethini named and blessed Makhosi (indicating leader or royalty in the Zulu language) in the name of the Zulu Royal family.

Makhosi formed a strong bond with fellow orphan Mpilo, and in 2020 both were released back into a life in the wild, where they belong. The orphanage team continue to monitor their safety and security.


Species: Black rhino

Gender: Male 

Born: September 2015

Storm got his name from the awful weather conditions on the day he was rescued.  The rescue team battled through an almighty wind and rain storm to get the little orphaned rhino back to the care facility.

Storm had a difficult start at the orphanage with a number of infections, for quite a while it seemed like he would not survive. But thanks to the skill and dedication of his carers Storm did survive, and it May 2018 he was released back to a life in the wild. Storm is thriving as he roams free but is still monitored regularly by the Orphanage team to ensure he is safe and well.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Male 

Born: October 2017

Khula was born on a private game reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Unlike many rhino orphans, Khula’s mum was not a victim of poaching and she is still very much alive today. However Khula’s mum had a damaged udder, meaning she was unable to produce any milk to feed Khula. At just three days old Khula was very weak, thin and in a poor condition.

He was given the name Khula, which means 'to grow' because he had a lot of growing to do! The difficult decision was made to take him from his mother and place him in the care of the Zululand Rhino Orphanage where he grew to reach one tonne in size.

Khula made great progress at the orphanage and has now been released back into the wild with Bhanoyi and Zimi where the orphanage team continue to monitor his safety and security.


Find out more
about our work with
the Zululand Rhino Orphanage

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