Adorable Newborn Rhino Rescued After Being Abandoned By Its Mother

BarcroftAnimalsPublished: December 19, 2016110 views
Published: December 19, 2016

A baby rhino abandoned as a newborn due to a case of mistaken identity was saved by a local rescue team. The rhino, now one month old, lives with the team at Aquila Rescue Centre, who have developed an 18 month plan to reintroduce him into the wild. Looking after the young calf is a full-time occupation, with the baby needing to be fed every two hours. He has also be assigned a mentor to teach him how to graze, something his mother would have done.

On New Year’s Eve 2015, the staff at the Aquila Rescue Center in Cape Town, South Africa, received a call about an injured rhino calf in the wilderness. The team discovered the baby rhino close to midnight, slumped in the dirt. According to Divan Grobler, a member of the conservationist team, his mother probably mistook her baby with another newborn in the vicinity and left her own by mistake.

The team spent the entire night with the baby, trying to locate its mother and reunite them, but had no luck. Ten hours had passed without luck and the calf was getting hungry. The team brought the baby rhino back to the center and tried again the next day, only for the mother to reject him once more.

“In the early morning, after about four hours, the mother still hadn’t come back for the baby, so we had to improvise,” Divan said. “We took him back to the mom and tried to reintroduce him, but we were unsuccessful. The mom was totally confused.” The dad also intervened, causing the team to panic. By now, the baby had gone 10 hours without nutrition and it desperately needed its mother’s milk. Their hopes weren’t high, but this little guy showed him just how big of a warrior spirit he had.

Now one month old, the baby rhino lives with the team at Aquila Rescue Centre. They have developed an 18-month plan to reintroduce their newest protegee back in the wild, where he belongs. Until then, he needs to be fed every two hours and can consume 15-20% of his body weight in formula. Not to mention the exercise!

“I am the one that has been doing the bulk of the night feeding and I have woken up with the calf sucking on my elbows or knees if he is hungry,” Divan said in an interview with MailOnline. “He is inclined to be clumsy, very much like any young animal, and to see him mock charging is very amusing. He also knows how to use his horn he knock us over when kneeling down to feed him.

“He is boisterous, wanting to play and have fun and we are challenged to keep a sterile environment such as that of a new born baby by sterilizing teats, bottles etc. and practicing the utmost of hygiene discipline so as to avoid life threatening infections and bacteria. He gets very anxious is he is left alone, so one of us always has to be with him,” Grobler added.

Releasing this baby as a healthy rhino back into the wild is crucial for conservation, since poaching till poses a huge problem. Rhino numbers have dropped as low as 50 in the early 20th century and have recently risen to 20,000. “This guy is vital in the conservation effort,” Divan said. “He can supply a strong bloodline and genetics for the white rhino’s future.”

Videographer / director: Divan Grobler
Producer: Nick Johnson
Editor: Joshua Douglas

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