In the early morning of Saturday 13th June, we received a call from the Greater Kruger alerting us to a very tiny baby rhino. The four-day old orphan was still with his Mom who had sadly passed away from natural causes. The onsite team walked straight up to the little baby and were humbled at his instant trust as he rested his head in their hands for comfort. They moved him quickly into the warmth of a vehicle where he was given ear plugs and a blindfold to reduce stress. They wrapped him in warm blankets and placed him on a drip to combat dehydration.
Meanwhile at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, Petronel and Chris prepared to embark on the journey to collect this newest orphan. They arrived back at the Care for Wild (CFW) Intensive Care Unit (ICU) later that afternoon. Being less than one week old, this new calf weighed only 63kg (138lbs) and still had his umbilical cord attached. He was very tiny; a miniature little rhino.
Petronel and the team monitored him very carefully and as he began to wake up, they offered him some warm milk. He took the bottle very quickly and devoured his first feed. He was probably extremely hungry. Due to his very young age, Anchor was fed every two hours through the day and night until the age of around three months old. Complete dedication and commitment from the staff.
As he began to settle, we quickly saw his beautiful personality and character. Despite being a teeny tiny rhino, he was well grounded, stable and solid in character. He was very sure of himself and confident in his approach and actions. He was given the name ‘Anchor’ as a reflection of this. A few days after deciding upon his name, a towel with a picture of an anchor was found in his nightpen, and Anchor’s name was set.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to David Notten and his family Mie, Mathilda, Patricia, Rex and Maverick for the swift rescue and recovery of little Anchor. David’s late Father, Bambi Notten, owned Notten’s Bush Camp and was a fierce lover and protector of wildlife. We will honour his memory and dedication to conservation by ensuring the protection and safety of little Anchor.
To prevent Anchor from becoming too attached or dependent on his human caregivers, we introduced him to a small sheep for company and comfort. Anchor wasn’t too impressed by this move and kept his distance from the strange looking animal!
Just a couple of weeks after Anchor’s arrival, another orphan arrived at the sanctuary. Yster’s Mom had been killed by poachers in the Kruger National Park (KNP) and he had been chased by elephants and lions. Anchor was very curious about his new neighbour and once Yster had settled, the two orphans were introduced.
Both Anchor and Yster were quite wary of each other. Anchor had really only known his human caregivers and his sheep companion. Yster was still very distrusting and nervous, as he adapted to a life without the protection and support of his Mom. The two orphans kept their distance at first but encouraged by the assurance of their caregivers, they slowly became friends. As time progressed, they became the very best of friends; running around in the early morning, cuddling up close together at night, and playing all through the day.
As Anchor became stronger and the nights got warmer, the two calves were finally discharged from the ICU and moved down to the bigger bomas. They didn’t have long to explore their new home before another orphan joined the duo. Cotton became the third orphan of 2020 and was soon followed by Ranger, Tom and lastly, Fred.
Although Anchor’s crash is now a family of six, he still remains best friends with Yster and the two are rarely found apart. Anchor is still incredibly goofy, sweet, loving, gentle and hates any kind of change! Anchor drinks 16L of milk a day and will continue to drink milk until the age of about 16 months old. This crash of orphans has been affectionately called “The CRAFTY Six’ with the name originating from the first letter of all of their names.
The CRAFTY Six currently spend their days walking, playing and grazing in their day camp as their tummies adjust to eating solids. At night-time, they return to the bomas and a cosy nightpen.
Anchor and his crash will continue with their rehabilitation programme until all six orphans are fully weaned and strong enough to move onto the first phase of the rewilding and release programme as we prepare them to be the rhinos they are meant to be.