Adopt a Rhino Orphan

Inkululeko (Leko)

Species: White rhino

Gender: Male 

Born: April 2021

On Saturday 10th April a 1 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 Leko for short and he soon proved he was a strong and feisty character. The signs are extremely positive that he will survive this traumatic start to his live and will once again roam free on the plains of Africa where he belongs.


Species: White rhino

Gender: Female 

Born: August 2019

On the 14th January 2020, the Zululand Rhino Orphanage got a call to say a white rhino cow had died, leaving behind a 6 month old female calf. The 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 careres decided to call her Zimisele, Zimi for short which means determined or determination in the Zulu language.


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 skillful 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.


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 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 has formes a strong bond with fellow orphan Makhosi, and in 2020 both will be released back into a life in the wild, where they belong.


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

This 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.


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 has 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.


Find out more
about our work with
the Zululand Rhino Orphanage

Other Adoptions

Sponsor a Black Mamba

Adopt a Northern White Rhino

Adopt an Anti-Poaching Dog

Adopt Thandi and her Family

Adopt Mthetho