These magnificent creatures, housed at ‘Care For Wild Rehabilitation Centre’ near Mbombela, have been part of the TRAC family for more than two years. Despite our longstanding relationship with them and their caregivers, we can’t get enough of their phenomenal fight for life and ongoing progress.
All three of these orphaned rhino have a painful, yet touching, history with all of them being the indirect victims of poaching. All three lost their mothers in their infancy to this barbaric act and all were found and rescued on the verge of death.
Although Tana, Wyntir and Mabush are wild animals, on learning of their heart-wrenching stories of fear, courage and survival one can’t help but humanize their tales and be moved. Imagine being merely a few weeks old and finding yourself lost and alone – trying to survive in a big, scary world without your primary caregiver.
Apart from being unable to sustain yourself, you also have to fight off all kinds of direct and indirect evils. Circumstances eventually leave you so weak and afraid, that you either succumb to the situation and answer death’s call - or entrust your fate to the very species that was responsible for your predicament.
Looking at Wyntir, Tana and Mabush as they roam graciously and happily at ‘Care For Wild’ it is difficult to imagine the heartache and agony they experienced at the onset of their lives. The reality, however, is that they are fortunate to be alive – and in such good health. Fact is, they are true miracles, because often orphaned baby rhino do not survive in captivity.
TRAC is so proud to sponsor this trio that we can’t help but relay their heroic story. And the more time we spend at the center and see their development into young rhino, the more we appreciate the miracles they are.
The care of these three has changed considerably over the last six months and in commemoration of World Rhino Day on 22 September 2016, TRAC felt it vital to share their transformation from helpless calves to sturdy young rhino. Until recently the trio were still mostly on a liquid diet, drinking two litres of milk seven times a day. However, they were recently put solely on solids - field grass and supplemented dry feed. Each of them consume about 10kg of food daily which is complemented with mineral enriched water. And it’s obvious that what they are eating is doing them good as they all weigh over half a ton – an important factor given that rhino guts are extremely sensitive to fluctuations in diet and environment.
Their typical day at ‘Care For Wild’ has also transformed somewhat from when they were calves. Currently, their day starts bright and early and by 08:30 they are let out of their boma to graze the camp with other rhino orphans residing at the sanctuary. This allows them to bond with their own species – a vital factor in their rehabilitation as the Centre intends releasing them into the wild again one day. Given the Centre’s rehabilitate-and-release programme, there is also minimal interaction between the employees and volunteers of ‘Care For Wild’ and Tana, Mabush and Wyntir.
Allowed to roam, take long naps and graze freely for most of the day (which comes naturally to rhino) the trio is returned to the boma they share in the late afternoon where they are fed dry feeds such as Lucerne hay, Eragrostis teff hay and specially formulated Rhino pellets. In here, they stay content until bedtime when the three of them head to their night pen and cuddle up on their soft and warm hay beds.
Of course with the threat of poaching still very real, the trio not only have their horns removed regularly, they also have a 24-hour bodyguard team dedicated to their safety and well-being. These are prized jewels for ‘Care for Wild’ and TRAC and their welfare is of utmost importance not only for their caregivers and sponsors, but the anti-rhino poaching community as a whole.
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