On Saturday 29th June 2019, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary received notification that a calf estimated to be between the ages of 6-8 months was on the way from Shiphampanane, Kruger National Park. The young calf had been shot through the muscle on the back of her neck (possibly the same bullet that killed her mother) and hyena had begun to eat away at her tail.
Blossom arrived at 17:00 by helicopter accompanied by SAN Parks Veterinarian Dr Peter Buss. Her wounds were extensive and painful. Blossom spent the night in ICU where she was given intravenous fluids and pain relief. An initial assessment of her injuries was performed and the wounds were cleaned. At 01:12 on Sunday morning, Blossom took her first bottle, a massive relief for all the staff. Dr Albertus Coetzee visited early morning to clean and treat her injuries thoroughly. Her tail was stitched and a combination of medical honey, dressings and bandages were applied to her wounds. Blossom weighed just 250kg.
The babies are all different and their reactions can vary when their blindfolds are removed. Despite showing all the signs that she was ready for this step, Blossom was still too nervous to drink after her blindfold was removed. The decision was made to see whether other rhinos would help to comfort and calm her and so she was introduced to Ribbon and Lazuli. While she did relax and join them for a wallow, Blossom was still too unsure to drink her milk from the bottle so staff decided to reapply her blindfold and give her more time to adjust.
Blossom began to drink again and the next day her blindfold was removed for the second time, this time Blossom was very content. The trust between Blossom and her caregivers had been won.
Up until this point, Ribbon and Lazuli had been spending a lot of time with new orphan, Mayar but concerns were raised that Mayar might injure tiny Ribbon. Blossom was taken to meet Mayar and the two connected instantly. For a while Ribbon, Lazuli, Mayar and Blossom played together but once the bond between Mayar and Blossom was evident Lazuli and Ribbon were able to step back and watch the new friendship bloom.
Today, Blossom and Mayar are the very best of friends and inseparable. Four months after arriving, they have only now joined the other younger orphans and are slowly integrating into the bigger crash.