Abandoned Baby White Rhino

On Friday 6th January we received a call from a game farmer who had discovered an abandoned baby white rhino on his farm an hours drive away! When it comes to baby rhinos, this journey is definitely worth it! Brian, along with some staff members and students left and we began the adventure to collect the little thing.

On arrival we learnt that her mom had given birth to her just the night before meaning this rhino was under 24 hours old! The little girls feet had not developed properly which Brian diagnosed as being born premature. We also discovered the rhinos on this farm had only recently been transported to this farm; this became clear that the mother must have been so stressed from the move, gave birth early and rejected the baby.

Now this is a relief as we first thought the mom had just rejected this baby which could mean any number of things that could be wrong that we cannot see visibly, but the mother can sense it somehow, hence her rejecting. However as she gave birth early due to capture stress it gives us hope that there were no physical problems with this baby, except for her weird little feet.

Brian gave her some milk straight away as we were worried she hadn’t yet drunk from her mother meaning she was lacking colostrum (mother’s first milk which contains lots of anti-bodies and helps improve the baby’s immune system). She took this very well considering she must have been wondering what was going on with all these humans around her! She settled in quickly and soon stole the hearts of us all. She is drinking perfectly, and going to the toilet like a star.

As wonderful as it seems looking after a baby rhino, it‟s no easy task and requires literally 24/7 care around the clock, feeding every 2 hours and always being on alert to catch her pee and making sure she doesn’t eat or suck on anything dirty.

Her current weight is 46.1 kg this might sound quite heavy but in comparison to our 2 year old black rhino weighing over 500kg this little girl‟s still got a long way to go, and we hope we get to see her reach this size. We are still thinking of a name for her.

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