Without the protection of their moms, defenceless rhino calves quickly fall victim to vicious attacks from poachers and predators, such as lions and hyenas, starvation, hypothermia and dehydration. The swift detection of a newly orphaned calf is essential to the rapid rescue that must follow to save the vulnerable baby from danger and death.

rescue of the rhino
rescue of rhino orphans

A poached rhino carcass can be identified by field rangers responding to shots fired, scouts on patrol, aerial surveillance or sometimes even tourists on game drives. Once the incident has been identified and reported, the operational room will deploy a helicopter accompanied by the veterinarian as well as a crime scene response team that may also include a K9 unit and trackers.

As the antipoaching unit continue with the investigation and apprehension of the poachers, the helicopter will search for the calf, often accompanied by ground support vehicles. Once located, the veterinarian will dart and immobilise the calf before it is transported safely by helicopter or road to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary.

A poached rhino carcass can be identified by field rangers responding to shots fired, scouts on patrol, aerial surveillance or sometimes even tourists on game drives. Once the incident has been identified and reported, the operational room will deploy a helicopter accompanied by the veterinarian as well as a crime scene response team that may also include a K9 unit and trackers.

As the antipoaching unit continue with the investigation and apprehension of the poachers, the helicopter will search for the calf, often accompanied by ground support vehicles. Once located, the veterinarian will dart and immobilise the calf before it is transported safely by helicopter or road to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary.

rescue of rhino orphans

On arrival at the sanctuary, the calf is admitted immediately to the Intensive Care Unit for triage and assessment. Here begins the long road of healing and rehabilitation.

The calf will be closely monitored and cared for every hour of the day and night by Petronel and our highly trained and dedicated team. It is during this phase that we will begin to stabilise the calf; monitoring body temperature, blood glucose levels and administering intravenous fluids to combat dehydration and shock.

saving the rhino
saving african rhinos

It is not uncommon to receive rhino calves with extensive injuries and open wounds from bullets, machetes, or hyena attacks. In these cases we will consult with our specialised veterinary team; together we have developed best practices in wound care and pain management.

Intense observation, monitoring and record keeping together with previous experience make all the difference. It is important to remember that even if the calf is only one week old, we are working with a wild animal who is not used to any human contact. The last humans that this calf encountered most likely murdered their Mom and induced fear, pain and trauma. As we introduce the calf to the bottle and use the positive association of warm, comforting milk, we work tirelessly to gain the calf’s trust. This is not an easy process. The team holding this responsibility must be dedicated, committed, passionate, gentle, caring, resourceful, patient and most importantly, they must never give up.

It is not uncommon to receive rhino calves with extensive injuries and open wounds from bullets, machetes, or hyena attacks. In these cases we will consult with our specialised veterinary team; together we have developed best practices in wound care and pain management.

Intense observation, monitoring and record keeping together with previous experience make all the difference. It is important to remember that even if the calf is only one week old, we are working with a wild animal who is not used to any human contact. The last humans that this calf encountered most likely murdered their Mom and induced fear, pain and trauma. As we introduce the calf to the bottle and use the positive association of warm, comforting milk, we work tirelessly to gain the calf’s trust. This is not an easy process. The team holding this responsibility must be dedicated, committed, passionate, gentle, caring, resourceful, patient and most importantly, they must never give up.

saving african rhinos

As well as the rescue and rehabilitation of young, orphaned rhino calves, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary identified a need for the rescue, treatment, care and protection of older rhinos. Our adult rhino treatment and care facility can accommodate rhinos of all sizes, ages, injuries, and needs.

Every rhino matters in the fight to save this iconic species from extinction.

rhino orphan rescue