13th January 2015 saw an unbelievable story take yet another twist as rhino poaching victim Thandi gave birth to a calf – a little girl.
Although the whole world had been waiting for news of a calf for Thandi, the journey from poaching attack to new Mum in just under 3 years makes Thandi’s story one of the most incredible animal stories to have ever been told. And this is not a fictional tale – this is very real life!
For those of you not familiar with Thandi’s story, she was one of three rhinos who fell victim to the poachers at Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa on the 2nd March 2012. Her two companions, Themba and an unnamed bull, did not make it but Thandi showed her fighting spirit and against all the odds, pulled through.
It was a long road to recovery, but under the expert guidance of Dr Willaim Fowlds, the team of rangers at Kariega and a whole team of other medical experts, Thandi started to return to something resembling a normal rhino life.
It was in mid 2013 that Thandi was seen spending time with new a bull at Kariega, and hopes she may be pregnant were confirmed by Dr Fowlds in December 2013 following a standard procedure blood test. It has been a long 13 months since that announcement, but on the 13th January Kariega shared the good news with the world that THANDI HAS GIVEN BIRTH!
Kariega rangers witnessed the birth and Dr Fowlds observed both Thandi and the calf from a distance soon afterwards, confirming that both mum and calf are doing well.
On the 3rd anniversary of the poaching, March 2nd, a naming ceremony for Thandi’s calf was held at Kariega. Thandi’s calf has been given the name THEMBI. Thembi means hope in the local language, Xhosa.
Helping Rhinos were thrilled to be invited to the naming ceromony, and by pure luck, Simon from the team was at Kariega at the time, so was able to join a number of other organisation in celebrating ‘A story of HOPE’
CONGRATULATIONS to Thandi, the Kariega team and Dr Will Fowlds – the whole world is very proud.
After another record year in terms of the number of rhinos poached, and while Thembi is just one calf, the amount of mass media coverage it will bring for rhinos will make her a very special rhino indeed.
We will use these feelings of great happiness to drive us on to ensure we beat the poaching crisis once and for all!
Below are some pictures of Thandi’s story from 2012 to the present day. The full Kariega press release can be seen here:
At the very bottom of this page is an amazing video showing some truly great footage of Thandi and her new calf.