Early morning of the 5th February 2018, the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary Team received an alert about a possible orphaned baby rhino who’s mother had been poached in the Kingfisherspruit area of the Kruger National Park. By 9:30, it was confirmed that the poaching incident had indeed left a baby rhino orphaned. Kruger National Park veterinarian Dr Louis van Schalkwyk and his team responded by helicopter to dart and rescue the new orphan. Due to the limited flying hours available in the Kruger Nation Park, the Care for Wild Team loaded the crate and made their way to the Kruger National Park Bomas to retrieve the rescued baby. The Care for Wild Team collected the orphan rhino and took her to the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary.
Summer, as she is now fondly named, arrived at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary at 3pm that same day. She was neither dehydrated nor cold, and all her vital signs were good. Despite her healthy physical condition, the splashes of her mother’s blood over her body shows the traumatic ordeal that little Summer went through as she became an orphan as her mother was murdered in front of her. After a cleansing sponge bath and a nice soft, warm bed to sleep in, Summer drank her first bottle of milk! Two days later, after she’d settled down in her now home, her blindfold and earplugs were removed and she saw her new home and caretakers for the first time. She was uneasy at first, but settled in after another warm bottle of milk from her new family. Later that week, she was confident enough to walk outside where her caretakers could weigh her. She weighed 99kg on the 13th of February 2018. For a 7 week old orphan baby rhino, she was just perfect!

Two weeks later, Summer was introduced to Khanya, Rose Petal and Rubybelle where she enjoyed Khanya’s company the best. After a cold spell passed a few days later, Summer was taken back to the ICU boma where her caretakers nursed her runny nose and kept her warm. Due to Summer’s ill health and sensitive condition (being a three month old baby), she was kept in the ICU area for close monitoring and care by the caretakers at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary.

Summer enjoyed her daily walks and grazing time outside of her boma with her caretakers when it is quiet and relaxing. Despite being accustomed to the sights and sounds of the sanctuary, Summer prefers her space and freedom. She has quite the cheeky personality! Now that Summer is feeling better and picking up weight again, she has joined the older orphans Khanya, Rose Petal, Rubybelle, Leo and Faye! Summer now has many older sisters and a very protective older brother and we are all happy with her amazing progress.

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