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Mapimpi, New Baby Rhino Arrival

March 9, 2020

It has been a long night for carers and baby rhino. As soon as the tranquilizers wore off baby started calling frantically for his mom and refused to lay down for more than 10 minutes. The calling and searching for mom continued the entire night but little boy is responding positively to the carers prrsence and imitation calls. Good news is that he started drinking within 2 hours of arrival and his blindfold and earplugs were removed during the night.

Our carers noticed a small ulcer in the roof of his mouth which could indicate possible gastric ulcers, caused by stress. We started treating for ulcers as a precaution. The carers also picked up on subtle signs of mild colic and we are worried that the little boy may have an impaction or sand in the gut. The Team has often found that little orphans eat sand, possibly a behaviour related to stress. Sand in the gut is life-threatening for little rhinos and we will keep a very close watch. The other concern is that baby hasn’t urinated yet, but as his hydration improves every hour, we should see some soon.

Baby boy had a vet check-up yesterday and dr Pierre is happy with his progress. His tummy looks fuller and there were no signs of colic during the night. Sometimes when the little ones travel under strong sedation for long with blindfolds on, they develop ulcers in the eyes. They can not blink due to the tranquilizers and blindfolds have to be done with great care. So one of the first measures when the blindfold comes off, is for the vet to stain the eyes with Flourescein to detect corneal ulcers, which shows up as white spots on the cornea. Our little boy’s eyes checked out clear.

We also finally had some urine, 32 hours post-rescue, which tells us that he was severely dehydrated. His hydration is luckily back to normal after IV fluids and drinking like a champ. The tiny ulcer in his mouth was treated with a teething gel that acts as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. The ulcer has disappeared but baby will remain on his treatment for gastric (stress) ulcers for a few days longer. We are now patiently waiting for faeces as this will tell us if he ingested sand and if his digestive system is coping with pur milk formula.

He is a strong baby and is so over-eager to drink that he pushes the carers off balance 😄 to the great amusement of our groundskeeper, Tshepo. We are so happy that this tiny baby is settling in so quick. Video 1 blindfold is carefully taken off. Video 2 teething gel tastes nice.

The tiniest of little boy rhinos is doing well. He had some mild colic symptoms again but the team is managing him with tender care. He has gone out of the room into the small boma area for exercise and stimulation of bowel movement and had the best time ever. We are still waiting for faeces and we are adding supplements to his milk to help lubricate the intestines.
It always leaves our Team speechless just how much love and compassion is out there for these little orphans. The way they affect people and nestle themselves in the hearts of not just the people who find them, the teams who rescue them and those who take care of them, but so many people who follow their stories across the World too.

This little rhino is no different. It is obvious that this little boy is so special to everyone and the way in which all involved in his rescue dedicated the little rhino to someone dear to them is so heartwarming. The rangers who found him in the vicinity of his mother’s carcass named the little rhino Frits, in memory of the late father of one of the rangers (R. I. P Sir), the Rhino911 team named him Johnny, a tribute to a wonderful dear person and here at the orphanage it is evident that the little orphan has crawled deep into the heart of our groundsguy Tshepo, who nicknamed him Mapimpi because of the way the little boy pushes the girls around when begging for milk, just like a little champion rugby player.

Tshepo says Kolisi needs a teammate cause he too lost everything when he was attacked by the hyenas in December. The name Mapimpi means “let him be humble”. Once again, this is one lucky little rhino. At the end of day whether he is remembered as Frits, Johnny or internally as Mapimpi, it is clear that the rhino will be loved and protected for the rest of his life and his story will travel far and wide.

Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful messages of support for the little boy, Mapimpi (Frits Johnny ☺️). It motivates all the Teams to push hard and pull through under difficult circumstances.