‘We have just received a heartbreaking call from the manager of the Zululand Rhino Reserve. She was travelling with a baby rhino they had rescued, after her mother had been killed by poachers, and were only a short distance from us when the calf stopped breathing and respiration could not be started again. RIP little calf.’
‘Another calf is on its way – a tiny female abandoned by its mother as a result of the recent drought. The baby has collapsed and there is concern that the vet will not get to her in time. She is loaded and on her way so we pray she will make it.’
These are just two of the frequent messages the special rhino orphan rescue team receive at the Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in South Africa. The team is always saddened to hear news of another baby rhino on its way, but when the call comes in everyone pulls together – the energy, focus and preparation for a long night of intensive nursing, necessary for these baby rhinos, is absolute. Emotions run high but the team work flat out to give the orphan the very best chance of survival.
The Orphanage desperately needs our help to respond effectively to these tragic situations. If milk and medical supplies run out, they risk losing the calves. Demand and the illegal trade in rhino horn peaks at this time of year – the poaching crisis continues unabated and the increase of incidents of baby rhinos left behind is heartbreaking. We simply cannot afford to lose a single one.
Every rhino orphan is special, every rhino is worth saving and at the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage there are successes:
“Watching black rhinos Storm and Nandi this morning, it's hard to believe that we had to fight so hard to keep Storm alive and at times, didn't think he would recover. Storm is doing well and is in really great condition. He is gaining in weight and size and it is becoming increasingly difficult from a distance to see the size difference between the two rhino.” Karen Trendler – Manager at Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, 25 November 2016
Please help the Orphanage purchase supplies critical to save the lives of the vulnerable baby rhino orphans. Every year at this time the Orphanage experiences a spike in their rescue operations, every year they struggle to keep the orphans alive.
Shockingly there are less than 28,000 rhinos surviving in the wild today; the populations of some of the five remaining rhino species have become so low that it is feared they may soon pass the ‘point of no return’. 90% of Africa’s black rhinos have been lost to increased poaching, human encroachment and habitat destruction in the last 40 years - fewer than 4,800 remain. There are only three northern white rhino left on the planet and without scientific intervention, it is only a matter of time before they become extinct.
What we need: Please help us to:
We want to raise £5,000 in the next 30 days to help the Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage purchase essential supplies – your gift could save a life.
And for especially for you… when we reach our target, the names of every donor will be entered into a draw to name the next rhino orphan. So do please reach out to these young and vulnerable orphans at such a critical time in their lives. Thank you.
How will success be measured?
After the first critical months, the nursing gradually becomes less intensive and the orphaned rhinos are encouraged to do more in their natural surroundings. All important for their health and well being is the space to explore, which they do in larger camps with indigenous vegetation, mud and sand baths. Giving them the chance to “wild up” and the eventual re-release back into a protected rhino reserve is truly a magical moment and testament to the dedication of the amazing team.