Rhino adopts Ntombi's orphaned calf

2016-04-14 17:09

Harare - A generous mother rhino has adopted the young calf of well-known Zimbabwean rhino Ntombi, which had to be put down at the weekend after she was seriously wounded by poachers, a group of wildlife vets reported on Thursday.

In one tiny piece of good news in a tragic story for southern Africa's threatened rhinos, rangers in the Matopos National Park near Bulawayo have spotted the 14-month-old calf suckling on an adult female which has another calf, the AWARE Trust said in an update.

"The benevolent mama rhino is letting both calves suckle," the trust said, quoting the Dambari Trust which monitors rhinos in the national park. AWARE said Ntombi's calf was close to weaning "and is probably suckling more for comfort than anything else".

Eight-year-old Ntombi, who featured in popular 2011 TV series Karina: Wild on Safari was discovered badly wounded in the Matopos at the end of last week, several days after she had been shot.

AWARE vets were involved in trying to save her, in what the trust has described as a "gut-wrenching experience".

She was found to have broken bones in one leg and bullets in two others and eventually had to be put down because she could no longer stand, according to AWARE's Facebook page.

Ntombi's milk had dried up by the time she was found.

AWARE Trust said: "At least [the calf] has a surrogate family to lean on."

Zimbabwe's total population of white and black rhinos now stands at around 800.

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