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New White Rhino Calf Rescue

November 16, 2021

** New orphan rescue Part 1 ** 

The last few days have been tough as we had more severe thunderstorms and critical repair work to substations knocking out our power yet again for 3 days. Admidst all of the battles our Team faces without power, we had a phone call on Saturday about an orphaned white rhino calf. The trip to fetch the baby was a stressful one to say the least, as high temperatures and a trailer breakdown resulted in a 7 hour trip to the pickup point and back.

The baby, a little girl, who was thought to be around 8 months old, had a very rough couple of days. After losing her mother to poachers she had suffered severe dehydration, ended up being trapped in a water provision and with the additional stress of the capture we expected an extremely traumatized little calf. It was obvious that winter had taken its toll on her too as her body condition is low and there are clear stress lines on all her toenails (hooves). But our team got home safely and quickly connected the little one to an IV line to get her rehydrated.

The calf crashed late Saturday night as her body and organs took the shock of everything that had happened. Her blood glucose levels dropped severely to 0.8 mmol (normal range is between 3.5 and 7.5), her body temperature fell drastically and she was in and out of consciousness most of the time, getting up once or twice just to collapse again. Supportive care & monitoring from our very worried & stressed team continued throughout the night. Not the easiest task during a power outage but done with smiles, positivity and a good strong cup of coffee ☕

17 November 2021 – ** New Orphan Rescue Part 2 **

Our new little arrival left orphaned by poachers, who had crashed hours after she arrived, quickly took to a bottle of electrolytes. It was evident that she was desperate for nourishment as she took the bottle laying down on the first try. Her blood glucose levels and body temperature had been very low the first 24 hours and she received supplements in the IV to aid her liver function. By the 2nd night at the orphanage her vitals improved and she moved around in the overnight room more & more.

She had paced continuously by midnight so it was decided to completely remove her blindfold, earplugs and IV to help her settle. This had to be done during the power outage, so our carers decided to do it from behind the room barrier, for safety reasons. She immediately settled, slept well and came up to the barrier to drink. By midday our carers could enter into her room. She still is very jumpy with any movement outside the room and her glucose levels fluctuating but she is stable and improving drastically.

The photo below shows the drastic effect of severe dehydration. We are left astonished as the electrolytes, milk and IV had made a remarkable difference in this orphan. The photos were taken 45 hours apart.


19 November 2021 – Update
The new baby we admitted almost a week ago is doing really well. She has started eating dry food, drinks well and her blood sugar levels are slowly but surely stabilizing. She is very dependent on company and follows her carers very closely, responding immediately when they call and laying down as close as she possibly can. It is evident that she has a very sweet temperament and the next step for her would be introduction to a new friend.

“Our baby girl has been named Amali, which means “Hope” in Swahili. With every orphan we take in, we cling to the the hope in our hearts. When you are sitting there at 2am as a rhino carer, next to a baby that has lost everything, crashing, with a heartbeat that gets slower every time you check, and her body ice cold to your touch, and you feel you have nothing left inside, you keep remembering that there is hope. With everything in life, there is always hope. And Amali is proof of that”. – a grateful rhino mom 🌹