At 10:30 on the morning of 21st September 2017, World Rhino Day, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary received a call about two black rhino calves in the Malelane area of the Kruger National Park. Two members of staff from Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary responded and made their way to the location. At 13:20, the Care for Wild staff received a second call informing them that the Kruger National Park’s veterinarian, Dr Peter Buss, has darted one of the black rhino calves. Ten minutes later, the female calf, now named Phoebe, was attended to and prepared for transportation back to the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary. Dr Peter Buss returned to the veld in search of the other calf that was seen with the mother earlier. Unfortunately, poachers had shot Phoebe’s mother as well as her older sister in the legs, but not fatally. The difficult decision was made to euthanize the two female black rhinos due to the severity of their injuries.

Phoebe safely arrived in a crate at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary later that afternoon at around 4pm. She was estimated to be 18 months old. Phoebe was placed into a large night-pen for the night with plenty of warm and comfortable bedding hay. Phoebe was in good condition and did not require a drip to be administered. The following day, she was eating and drinking water from a trough. That evening, her blindfold and earplugs were removed and allowed access to the big boma outside. The following day, it was seen that she had begun exploring and settling into her new home. Within a few short days, Phoebe was accepting supplemental feed and prophylactic medication from Care for Wild staff.

In November 2017, a male black rhino calf of a year old, by the name of Badger, arrived at Care for Wild. On the 21st November 2017, Phoebe was introduced to little Badger. Phoebe was very curious of Badger on their first meeting, but Badger was still very shy. During the days that followed, the two little black rhinos grew comfortable with one another. Within a week, Phoebe and Badger were inseparable! Phoebe has taken the role of the older sister with pride and takes care of little Badger with tender loving care. We are so happy to see these two critically endangered rhinos doing so well and sharing such a special bond.

We would like to thank Section Ranger Albert Smith, Veterinarian Dr Peter Buss and helicopter pilot Grant for their quick response and rescue of this beautiful girl.

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