Orphaned rhino calf finds sanctuary

On the evening of 14 February 2019, a male rhino calf was orphaned by poachers who killed its mother in the MalaMala private game reserve. The reserve’s anti-poaching unit was on patrol when they discovered the carcass of a female rhino, with the female’s calf nowhere to be found.

The anti-poaching team began its search for the calf on foot in the dead of night. It discovered the carcasses of two more rhinos, but not the calf. A helicopter was deployed to help locate the animal when it started to rain, making visibility conditions poor for the rangers on the ground.

The helicopter managed to spot the calf back at the site of his mother’s carcass, where the team worked tirelessly to get the calf to safety, warding off a pack of hyenas and a pride of lions in the process. The calf was nipped by an opportunistic hyena and sustained injuries to one of its ears and its tail. An emergency vet was brought to the site to inspect the calf before it was transported to the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary.

Due to the poor weather conditions, the tyres of the trailer in which the calf was being transported began to shred and a service bakkie had to be dispatched to the site. The calf was moved from the trailer and loaded onto the back of the bakkie.

The rhino calf arrived at his new home at 3am on 15 February. The sanctuary, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, named the calf ‘Lazuli’, meaning royalty and honour, gods and power, and spirit and vision. Lazuli’s wounds were immediately treated and he was placed in a pen to sleep. Lazuli has since been partnered up with a female orphaned rhino named Ribbon.

If you want to make a donation towards Lazuli’s vet bills or purchasing milk or hay for him, you can contact the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary here.

Image source: Pixabay

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