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, 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.
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.
When 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.
But 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.
Salome 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.