Orphaned rhino calf recovering from gunshot wound

2016-12-13 10:49
FILE: Rhino poaching survivor Thandi with her newly born calf in the Kariega Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth, in the eastern Cape Province. (Adrian Steirn, Kariega Game Reserve, AP)

FILE: Rhino poaching survivor Thandi with her newly born calf in the Kariega Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth, in the eastern Cape Province. (Adrian Steirn, Kariega Game Reserve, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nelspruit - A rhino calf that walked around in the bush for more than a week with a horrific gunshot wound after its mother was poached at a game reserve in Mpumalanga is currently recovering at the Care for Wild Africa sanctuary outside Nelspruit.

The sanctuary, which takes care of orphaned rhinos, was called in to assist with finding the 9-month-old calf following the discovery of its mother's carcass.

An eight-day search with helicopters, drones and ground teams eventually resulted in the dazed calf being found on December 3 with a gaping high-calibre gunshot wound on her torso.

The calf was sedated and her wound was cleaned out before she was rushed to Care for Wild Africa.

"The search operation was absolutely immense. We made use of drones, a helicopter, a microlight, a fixed-wing plane and ground teams. Even after tracking her spoor and having a general idea of the area she would be, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack," said Care for Wild Africa spokesperson Gary Shneider.

Shneider said it was extremely uncommon for a baby rhino to survive without its mother's milk for eight days.

Lucky escape

"But she somehow did. Not to mention that she had a serious gunshot wound from the poachers that killed her mom. She is being looked after and treated by a team of incredible vets. She will begin the long road to rehabilitation where she will be able to get another chance at life. She's drinking milk already and we are very confident in her recovery," said Shneider.

Nelspruit veterinarian Dr Albertus Coetzee, who assisted with the rescue, said the calf had been extremely lucky to escape with its life.

"Although the wound looks bad, the bullet fortunately missed bony structures and vital organs. But if she had been out in the bush for another week she definitely wouldn't have survived. We're currently managing her injury and using sedatives to help her deal with the stress and adapt to her new circumstances."

Coetzee added that he couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the sadness of the situation.

"The one thing that stands out is the overwhelming sadness of it all. For a calf to lose its mother so senselessly is heart-breaking," he said. 

Care for Wild Africa has previously successfully rehabilitated orphaned rhinos with injuries including severe machete wounds, torn off ears and foot infections.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  animals  |  rhino poaching

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Partner Content
How data is changing investments

Technological disruption is rife in many spheres of business and given the quantity of data available, it’s no surprise that the way in which asset managers work is also changing fast.

Behind the sparkle

Alluring, beautiful and timeless - diamonds are some of the most sought after gems in the world and are a true testament of everlasting brilliance. Let us take you behind the sparkle to show you the history behind this coveted jewel.


How to get rid of fleas

Before you call in the pricey exterminators, try this DIY approach that promises to get your flea problem under control.



12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Do you know what you are feeding your dog?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.