Eyes on the Rhino – Featured Project

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre recently took possession of another young Rhino calf who was found roaming around on his own – no mother in sight.  Unfortunately this little calf was attacked by what the Vet suspects to be Hyena and had his tail chewed off.  So when he arrived he was not in a good condition and was also in considerable pain.

HESC are well know for two Rhino’s, Dingle Bell and Lion’s Den, who both survived poaching of their horns and are now living out their lives in complete safety.  It has been a long road for them – 2 years of operations and care and now, looking at them, you will not believe how their faces had been hacked by senseless and cruel people.

Then the famous Gertjie, IMG_20150130_203423 or Little G arrived after being found laying next to their dead mothers. It took lots of love and care to help these little calves but they have come a long way since a year ago.  His carer slept with him each night and would lay his head on a lap.  He cried for many a night until the love outlasted the sadness he felt from missing his mother.  A surrogate mother in the form of a Lammie the Lamb, gave him the constant companionship he needed and a baby Ostrich joined to form a real Motley Crew. IMG_20150420_215422

Little G loved his daily walks, his mud baths and to carry a stick in his mouth.  He was a mischievous little calf who found an interest any anything and made a toy from anything.  Gertjie will be kept at HESC as the Ambassador Rhino as he has had quite a bit of human contact.

Matimba arrived a year later and was kept separate to Little G and he too, had is carer sleeping with him each night, suckling and crying for his mum.  Those little whimpering sounds are heartbreaking and blows your mind that someone can viciously kill another animal without any care the world.

IMG_20150309_193958When the day came for Matimba to meet Little G, it was by complete accident that their paths crossed and Matimba was excited and galloped over to Little G, who immediately ran away as fast as he could.  It was the cutest video I have seen and one that made me laugh.  They have since bonded and are inseparable.  When Matimba is big and strong enough, he will be released in some secret location where hopefully he will be able to live the rest of his life with a great herd of Rhinos.

IMG_20150211_214003But HESC are more than this.  Lente Rhode started HESC with the intention of saving endangered animals especially the Cheetah and various cats pass through the gates having been injured and where they receive medical help before being released again.  A release is always great to see – seeing that animal sprint away to freedom, healthy and feisty.

IMG_20150503_141822Salome gave birth to cubs a few months back and HESC had a webcam in the camp and these photos were taken by an Instagram follower from the webcam photos.  Once the cubs are weaned from their mother, they go to a Nursery and once they are fully grown, they are released in the wild.  Therefore no volunteer will be able to get close to them – all form of human contact is avoided.

Check out this video and if you are keen to volunteer, then go to our website http://www.aviva-sa.com and complete a booking form.  AVIVA Volunteers is proud to be associated with such a great Wildlife Conservation Project.

 

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AVIVA Homeward bound with Cape To Addo Tours : Part 3

Sunday was an early start and would be the longest time on the road and with bags packed in the trailer, we headed to Oudtshoorn where those who wanted to experience the Cango Wildlife Ranch did so, whilst others headed to the Cango Caves. The Cango Wildlife Ranch is an exceptionally well run, organised and aesthetically pleasing Safari Park. IMG_20150622_204007The animals are all in excellent condition, living in exhibits or enclosures which are natural to their normal habitats. IMG_20150828_163249

They have their own operating theatre and Animal Clinic where they get the most professional and best treatment that any animal could wish for. Everything in the entire park has been carefully considered to keep the animals safe, happy and stress-free. If time was not an issue, I could easily have spent half a day here.

 We had one more stop before reaching Cape Town and that was in Barrydale, a quaint town in the Klein Karoo, reportedly making the best milkshakes in the Southern Hemisphere, the entire world, in Africa! At first, what caught your eye immediately was the vast collection of petrol pumps, old bicycles, household items and old Barber chairs, a real blast from the past and it was no surprise the restaurant would be called Diesel & Crème.  IMG_20150828_164513

This place is on the tourist route if you are travelling Route 62 and is ultra-popular with old and young alike.

What meant to be a quick milkshake stop, turned out to be another culinary delight. All the burgers had unusual names and in some cases non-appetising names but the real deal caused little explosions on your tongue as you began eating the food.

We had one last stop to look out over False Bay with Gordon’s Bay, Strand and Somerset West beneath our feet. The only disappointment was the incredibly cold, gale-force wind that was blowing and the sun was pretty weak in the distance. I doubt anyone cared too much as we were all really quite tired and wanted to get home, freshen up and tumble into bed.

Well done Cape to Addo – loved the tour, Nico and Gareth were fantastic tour guides and it was every bit worthy of the price. Now can you invite me to go on the 6-day tour please!