The Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary was contacted last Friday regarding a rescue of an 8-month-old female calf from a reserve in the Mpumalanga region. Its mother was poached a few days before and only glimpses of the calf had been seen by the reserves anti-poaching unit who noticed that it had been shot in its front left leg.

A search and rescue team was deployed, however due to heavy rain the spoor (tracks) of the rhino calf was washed away. The small calf had also run to a section of the reserve where there was extremely thick bush that hindered the ability of the pilots who were scouting from the air. Nevertheless, extra trackers were called in from a neighbouring farm to help in the search.

Incredibly, nearly 8 days after the poaching incident and with hope fading that the calf would survive, the helicopter called to say they had spotted it. Petronel, Veterinarian Dr. Albertus Coetzee and the reserves anti-poaching unit immediately set out to find and sedate the calf. The orphan rhino was then transported immediately to the Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary and underwent treatment for the bullet wound.

She was later introduced to some of the bigger rhinos to act as surrogate mothers. This is an important step in Sibeva’s rehabilitation process. We are very happy to see her recovery and rehabilitation progressing so well. She enjoys her nutritious milk as well as the dry feeds that she is provided. The large enclosure that she shares with the other rhinos has green grass on which she enjoys grazing and playing.

We would like to thank the following people for their dedication and unwavering support in this rescue mission; Richard Fair for flying the setwing, Wayne Kenneth, Dr. Albertus Coetzee, the neighbouring farms trackers, Willie and his team from the W.A. EN Genote Security Company and Marius Nel.

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