Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too

by Wildlife Conservation Trust
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Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Big Rhinos Need Big Hearts Too
Dr Rogers coaxing Esme to lie down
Dr Rogers coaxing Esme to lie down

Rhino horn is highly sought after on the black market – fetching as much as $25 000 per kilogram. It is for this reason that poachers will go to great lengths to obtain it, with no regard for the immense suffering, and often death, of the animal. At HESC we support dehorning to deter poachers, sad as it is to remove that which is so characteristic of the rhino.

Recently, it was Esmé’s turn, as her horn had already grown to a sizable length. Our vet, Dr Peter Rogers, was on hand to facilitate the procedure. Esmé was darted, then coaxed with a blanket to lie down in a comfortable spot, her eyes covered to relax her and given earmuffs to quieten the noise.

Once the medication and oxygen were administered, the procedure could begin. Firstly, the horn is sawn off, then the rough edges smoothed down with a grinder and lastly, a coat of oil applied to the stump to prevent cracking. The whole procedure takes around 45 minutes and Esmé was soon back on her feet. Our other two rhinos, Lula and Khulula, do not yet need this life-saving intervention, but we will monitor their horn growth closely and when the time is right, they too will be dehorned. 

Ensuring the security of our rhinos remains a top priority for us. Your generous contributions through GlobalGiving enables us to address safety issues through various means, around the clock, while also maintaining enclosures and providing veterinary care and food. In winter when natural grazing is often insufficient, bales of lucerne are provided to supplement the natural diet. 

We remain extremely grateful for your support and contributions to the conservation of this iconic species. With your support we can continue with our work. The species must never disappear of the face of our planet!

The horn is sawn off
The horn is sawn off
A grinder is used to smooth any rough edges
A grinder is used to smooth any rough edges
An oil coating is applied to prevent cracking
An oil coating is applied to prevent cracking
Esme is back on her feet!
Esme is back on her feet!
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Esme thought she would pop by to say thank-you!
Esme thought she would pop by to say thank-you!

The three rhinos that are cared for at HESC are well and thriving. The aim remains to release all rhinos back into the wild when they are fully rehabilitated and old enough to sustain themselves and we work steadfastly towards this goal. The financial support received via GlobalGiving enables us to contribute to the conservation of this iconic, but sadly and fast disappearing species.

Lula and Khulula came to us as two little orphans after their mothers had been butchered in poaching incidents. Lula was barely four months old and Khulula around five months; both were terrified and traumatised but today the two are content and happy in an environment where they receive besides food, shelter and medical treatment, all the love that is needed to allow them to thrive.

Esmé remains our darling, after close on four years with us. She wasn’t orphaned but came to us when she was just a month old because her mother didn’t have sufficient milk to nurse her. Three-hourly bottles of milk given by hand saved her life and blessed us, and all who see her in real life or on our social media platforms, with her presence. She spends much of her time with her constant companions Anatolian shepherd David and Mielie the Thaba Manzi Pedi sheep.

An injury recently sustained left Esmé with a big sore below her tail, but a visit and treatment by our specialist wildlife veterinarian, prevented infection and healing followed soon. We never could establish how she hurt herself but were grateful that we had the staff and support to treat her, even though the injury was discovered and treated at night, with a spotlight under the African sky!

We were devastated when Olivia, one of the rhinos that we had rehabilitated and released, was killed in a poaching incident on the reserve where she had been living since her release in September 2019. The incident strengthened our resolve to fight the barbaric practice of poaching and to do our utmost to save the species, rhino by rhino.

Funding received via GlobalGiving remains the backbone of our rhino rehabilitation programme and is spent on caring for the animals. We maintain their enclosures, provide medical care, food and above all security. We thank all who contribute to this cause enabling us to fulfill a vital role in the conservation of our endangered white rhinos.

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A recent photograph of Stompie and Balu: Oct 2020
A recent photograph of Stompie and Balu: Oct 2020

The rehabilitation of rhinos injured and orphaned in poaching incidents remains a priority at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and is a task of love that is performed despite the hardships of the current worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant disastrous effect on tourism due to travel restrictions. The generous support received via GlobalGiving and individual supporters from around the globe has enabled HESC to continue with this work.

The ethos behind all our conservation programmes is to release rehabilitated animals back into the wild to sustain the species and in the past two years alone, since December 2018, we have released ten white rhinos. While details and current locations are not divulged, we regularly receive feedback on the rhinos and can confirm that all have adjusted well and are happy and content in their new homes in the wild.

A recent photograph of Stompie and Balu, released in October 2020, show the two are still very close and clearly happy in their new environment. Nhlanhla released in December 2020 has had the good fortune of teaming up with a young cow and the two seem inseparable. Although Nhlanhla and his new friend are free in the wild, for the sake of safety they sleep in a Boma.

Three rhinos remain in our care as they are not yet old enough to be released.

Much loved Esmé is still the favourite (although Lula and Khulula are equally loved) and is mostly in the company of her best friend Anatolian shepherd David and Mielie the Thaba Manzi Pedi sheep. The close friendship of the three different species never ceases to amaze and delights all who see them. Esmé who came to us in 2017 when she was just one month old when her mother couldn’t provide sufficient milk to sustain her, is now strong and beautiful and a fine example of one of the icons of our South African wildlife heritage.

Lula and Khulula came to us as they were orphaned when their mothers were butchered in poaching incidents. Lula was barely four months old and Khulula around five months; both were terrified and traumatised but today the two are content, happy and still with us.

We are hugely grateful for the financial support that has enabled us to rehabilitate and care for each and every rhino that has crossed our path. Funding received covers, besides maintaining the enclosures of the rhinos, also veterinary care, security, staff salaries and animal food. For a period of three months, 300 bales of lucerne costs close on R100 000. As our dogs are an important aspect of our security system, their food, training and veterinary costs are also covered by GlobalGiving funding.

While the rehabilitation of rhinos is our passion, we could never do it without the support of benevolent sponsors. We aim to continue with this task to contribute to the conservation of a species that can never be allowed to disappear off the face of our planet.

Nhlanhla: released in December 2020
Nhlanhla: released in December 2020
Esme and Mielie
Esme and Mielie
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Stompie and Balu as they were released
Stompie and Balu as they were released

To our wonderful donors! 

We are so proud to announce in our HESC October report that Stompie and Balu, two orphaned white rhinos rehabilitated at our Centre have recently been released into the wild into an approved and protected reserve. In all, HESC has successfully rehabilitated 13 rhinos of which nine have been released back into the wild.

The two rhinos Stompie and Balu spent close on five years at HESC. Stompie came to HESC as the victim of a brutal poaching incident in which his mother was killed for her horn when he was only eight months old. When the little guy was found next to his dying mother, all but dead himself, his tail had been bitten off and his rectum chewed by presumably a hyena. Numerous treatments saved his life and restored his dignity.

Balu was brought to HESC bewildered and terrified when he was only two weeks old and weighing around 50 kg. He was not a poaching victim but had lost his mother in a hailstorm. About seven months younger than Stompie, the two soon became best mates and inseparable. Their favourite pastime was taking mud baths together.

Despite the traumatic events of their youth, Stompie and Balu are now free to live their lives as triumphant survivors and HESC is thankful for the privilege it had of accompanying them on their road to recovery and adulthood.

Following the release of Stompie and Balu, HESC now has the capacity again of offering a home to other rhinos in need of rehabilitation and to this end has been upgrading and strengthening its facilities at the Centre. In addition to rehabilitating animals, HESC also educates and creates awareness in the community about the consequences of rhino poaching on ecosystems and their sustainability.

  • For security reasons details of the release and the current destination are limited. However, regular feedback will be provided on how the released animals are adapting in their new environment. Initial reports indicate that they are doing well.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our Stompie and Balu's journey, as well as ours. 

Please continue supporting us where you can, 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year. A big portion of HESC's income is from visitors, which was not possible for the majority of this year, and sadly, our main source market visitors are still not allowed to travel to South Africa. If you can assist in any way, we will be so grateful. 

All the best for the last few months of the year. 

From your HESC Team

During the release procedure
During the release procedure
Linri, our head curator having an emotional moment
Linri, our head curator having an emotional moment
Stompie and Balu -4 years ago
Stompie and Balu -4 years ago
Stompie and Balu at HESC
Stompie and Balu at HESC
Stompie and Balu at HESC 2
Stompie and Balu at HESC 2
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Stompie and Balu
Stompie and Balu

THANK YOU!

We have raised $ 36 445 for the Rescued Rhino's and are extremely proud to be able to say thank you to our amazing donors. We also want to especially thank everyone that supported us during this unstable time in the world! Every donation no matter how big or small helps us get closer to our goals!

AN UPDATE ON THE RESCUED RHINOS @ HESC

The six Rescued Rhinos @ HESC are all well and have been fully rehabilitated despite traumatic experiences in poaching incidents or having lost their mothers. We plan to release them all back into the wild, as is our conservation ethos, but at present, we consider them still too young to cope on their own. We are very grateful for the generous support received via GlobalGiving because although it is our privilege and passion to care for these animals, the financial burden is often greater than we can manage.

 

Here is an update on each of our beautiful rhinos:

Esme

Esme is doing really well and loves the company of her friend Dawid, They love playing around running after one another. They also now then try to get a curator involved to play with them. We still see Esmé as our little baby even though she is not at all that little anymore

Khulula

Khulula is turning into a beautiful lady and will always be seen by Lula’s side. She is also doing very well and with cold weather, she gets really playful.

Lula

Lula is also well. She has grown up so fast and we can see that she wants to be the top rhino as she keeps Khulula and Nkhandla in line when it comes to feeding time. She insists on being the first one to eat and only then may Khulula and Nkhandla follow 

Nkhandla

Nkhandla is an adventure seeker. Often he will wander away from the ladies, just to see what he can find along the way. He really enjoys his mud baths and will most of the time be found lying around in the mud bath.

Stompie

Stompie is doing well and is mostly seen with Balu – in fact the two are almost inseparable. We are very proud of the bond that Stompie and Balu have made here, knowing that is was of great comfort to them in the rehabilitation process.

Balu

Balu is also well and is always first when it is feeding time. He and Stompie love taking mud baths and taking it easy on a warm day. 

Hello Esme
Hello Esme
Hello from Khulula
Hello from Khulula
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Organization Information

Wildlife Conservation Trust

Location: Pretoria - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Trust_Wildlife
Project Leader:
Lente Roode
Pretoria, South Africa
$83,514 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,394 donations
$16,486 to go
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