Baby rhino feeling a bit sheepish

2014-05-09 00:00

NELSPRUIT — A three-month-old rhino calf yesterday found a new maaa-ma to take the place of its own mother, which was killed by poachers.

The little bull rhino had been taken in by the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), where the curator, Christo Schreiber, yesterday said a local veterinarian, Peter Rogers, had brought the calf to them on Wednesday night.

Rogers told how the little bull was found on a farm near Ohrigstad and it did not want to leave the body of its dead mother and was crying loudly.

It was also trying to butt anyone that came close to it, which at least showed the poachers had not injured it.

“We quickly prepared a room with warm lights and a heater where he was put on a drip and received milk,” Schreiber said.

They then shooed in a foster mother for the little rhino. Schreiber explained that Skaap, the ewe, is not afraid of humans and would help calm the rhino.

“Sheep are often used as foster moms for rhinos, elephants and even zebras, because sheep form a bond with almost any animal,” Schreiber said.

Schreiber and his team stayed the night to monitor the rhino and said it was a lot calmer yesterday.

“Its chances to survive are really looking very good. We will rehabilitate him and will decide later what to do with him on the road ahead,” Schreiber said.

The little rhino bull must still be given a name, Schreiber added.

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