Thorough and successful rehabilitation of an orphaned rhino calf takes commitment, dedication and above all, time. There are multiple stages within the rehabilitation journey, but each phase is designed to heal, nurture, and prepare the growing calf for release back into the wild.

From the time of admission into the Intensive Care Unit, each calf begins an extensive adaptation phase as they learn to live in a world without their Mom. Earning their trust and understanding the high level of loss, fear, uncertainty, and stress experienced by every calf, allows us to support their rehabilitation needs properly and effectively.

white rhino rehabilitation
endangered species rehabilitation

Our purpose-built holding facilities house and support the orphans during the early, fragile stages of their rehabilitation. For some calves, wound care and treatment continues even after leaving the ICU. Rhino calves drink milk from their Moms until they are around 16 months old, consuming about 16L of milk a day. Our team mirrors this programme, feeding very young calves every two hours through the day and night until they are old enough to begin eating solids, at which point we will increase the time between feeds.

When ready, calves are introduced to other orphaned rhinos to form mini crashes. This important stage of the rehabilitation journey develops the calf’s social behaviour as they learn how to navigate the complexities of rhino body language, vocalisations, and interaction with members of their own species.

Our purpose-built holding facilities house and support the orphans during the early and fragile stages of their rehabilitation. For some calves, wound care and treatment continues even after leaving the ICU. Rhino calves drink milk from their Moms until they are around 16 months old consuming about 16L of milk a day. Our team mirrors this programme, feeding very young calves every two hours through the day and night until they are old enough to begin eating solids, at which point we will increase the time between feeds.

When ready, calves are introduced to other orphaned rhinos to form mini crashes. This important stage of the rehabilitation journey develops the calf’s social behaviour as they learn how to navigate the complexities of rhino body language, vocalisations, and interaction with members of their own species.

endangered species rehabilitation

Crashes that are more advanced with their rehabilitation will venture out into the veldt as caregivers slowly introduce them to the environment in which they will one day be released. Once again, intensive monitoring, experience and knowledge of the species is of paramount importance when introducing the orphans to a new environment, natural food and water sources as well as new sounds, smells and even other animal species.

Calves can spend as long as three or four years in the rehabilitation phase, but this extensive and thorough programme leads to successful release and ultimately, the survival of the species.

black rhino rehabilitation