Cape Town - It is only fitting that the safe haven Kariega Game Reserve, where the rhino who escaped death after poaching and lived to give birth to a baby rhino girl, has decided to name the baby Thembi, meaning "hope" in isiXhosa.
The announcement was made at a small function on the reserve three years on from the brutal poaching of Thandi, Themba and an unnamed bull rhino on 2 March 2012.
Dr William Fowlds of Investec Rhino Lifeline said at event that “the name Thembi seemed to fit best given that this little calf has brought fresh hope and energy to those who struggle to secure the future of our rhino. She is a new generation of life, one I hope will never experience a poaching incident like her mother and namesake Themba.”
Themba was the male rhino rescued with Thandi, who tragically past away a few days after the rescue.
See: Very special bundle of joy for Kariega Game Reserve
Dr Fowlds emphasized how their “story has become one of the most successful awareness building campaigns that this crisis has generated to date", the Game Reserve said on their website.
Foundation patron and Kariega co-owner Graeme Rushmere thanked the many people and organisations that have helped Thandi and the Kariega Foundation Save our Rhino project at the function. He said that they “are grateful to everyone who has supported Kariega and the rhino during the roller coaster journey over the past three years".
It seems like Thembi might be a symbol of hope for rhinos in the grander scheme of things as well, as WildAid announced in a press release that there has been a notable rise in awareness among Chinese citizens of the severe impact rhino horn trade had on wildlife.
Based on the results from surveys conducted in China's three largest cities - Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou - between November 2012 and November 2014, WildAid found that that 95% of respondents favoured stricter punishments for rhino horn trade offenders.
Here are a few of the key findings on rhino horn revealed by the survey:
• Respondents who believe that rhino horn has medicinal effects dropped by 23.5%, from 58.2% in 2012 to 44.5% in 2014.
• 95% of residents surveyed who don’t consume rhino horn agree that the Chinese government should take stricter action to prevent rhino horn consumption, while even 87 percent of rhino horn consumers agree with stricter regulations.
• 90% of residents who had viewed the campaign’s public service messages starring Yao Ming or Jackie Chan said they would not buy rhino horn.
• 50 percent of respondents believe that horns come from poached rhinos, a 51.5% increase in awareness since 2012.