WATCH | Rare blind black rhino given new lease on life

2019-08-11 06:57
Munu, a rare blind rhino has been given a new lease on life.

Munu, a rare blind rhino has been given a new lease on life. (Yellowfin Films | Screenshot)

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Munu, a blind rhino, has been given a new lease on life. 

The 20-year-old black rhino bull lost sight in both eyes due to a territorial fight in January.

He was found walking in circles on a reserve in the Eastern Cape. 

Munu was diagnosed with two detached retinas from which he could not recover.   

Left alone, rhino expert and White Lion Foundation director Brett Barlow believed, Munu would have most likely been eaten by lions.

With only 254 South Western black rhinos left in South Africa - and only 80 breedings males – the foundation quickly jumped into action. 

"I look at him as being a special needs child," Barlow told News24.

"Would you put down a human because it's blind? A human adapts and a rhino adapts."

Munu, who had been living in a temporary boma since January, was recently moved to a specially designed enclosure at the conservation-focused Founders Lodge in the Eastern Cape.

The enclosure was built with his special needs in mind. 

"We built a replica of his existing facility, but added an outdoor section, where he can browse naturally. This will increase in size as he gets used to his newly restored freedom," Barlow explained. 

"There are no sharp objects in or around the facility and it is electrified to keep other animals away from him."

A full battery of cameras track Munu's every move to ensure his safety and well-being. He is also protected by armed guards. 

Because black rhinos are easily startled, music is played to Munu - as a type of white noise.

"Munu communicates with his carers through a series of high-pitched squeaks. His favourite food is a thorny succulent which is poisonous to most animals. This is the black rhino equivalent of chocolate," Barlow said. 

At 20 years old, Munu is still relatively young. Plans are afoot to introduce him to a female mate, once he has settled into his new home. 

The hope is that he will sire offspring.

The foundation must now urgently raise the necessary funding to provide Munu with a lifetime of specialised care, which is estimated to cost around R900 000. 

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