Don was orphaned when his mother was poached in the Kruger National Park. He was very young and suddenly alone and terrified. He went in search of shelter and protection and approached a grey-colored vehicle, perhaps mistaking it for a rhino.
Because baby rhinos are so dependent on their mothers, they recruit replacements in a desperate bid for survival when their mothers are poached. They will imprint, meaning treat other animals, humans or even objects, as a replacement for the mother they have lost. He leaned against the car, looking for shelter.
Don English, head ranger in the Kruger National Park, arrived quickly and with a vet set to work, tranquillizing Baby Don in preparation for him to be flown to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary. He was loaded into a helicopter to be quickly transported to the sanctuary.
In the helicopter, Don suffered cardiac arrest and the pilot had to make an emergency landing. After three minutes of resuscitation and desperate efforts to save him, a miracle happened and the little rhino gasped for air as his heart started up again. Don arrived safely into the expert hands of Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary on the 24th of July 2015.
Don quickly become a happy young rhino and has settled in nicely. He is quite a character: very cheeky and he especially likes to mock charge, to scare the sanctuary staff. But everyone knew his antics, so he brought laughter, happiness and light!
He shared the ICU enclosure with Warren (a young rhino that needed special care that was sent by his owners and later returned) and later Oz.
After the three orphaned rhinos moved to the big enclosure, Lofo, another male orphan and Twinkle, a female orphaned rhino, joined the group. The five rhinos formed a strong bond and went everywhere together.
Don was named after the ranger Don English who was instrumental in saving him. We thank Don English who devotes his life to saving rhinos.