Species: White Rhino
We received a phone call in the late afternoon on the 15th May that a white rhino cow had been poached from a game reserve in Mpumalanga. She had left behind a 4-month old calf and a vet had already been called upon to capture him. Ntoto had been on his own in the bush for 6 days before he was successfully captured on the 16th May. He was a feisty little boy and had done an excellent job looking after himself in the wild – surviving by drinking water and nibbling on grass. Ntoto was so young that his normal diet would have consisted mostly of his mother’s milk so he was in desperate need of milk and nutrition and his stomach was constipated from digesting only solids. At that time, we did not have the facility to accommodate this orphan. The team sprang to action, and thanks to the OSCAP rhino ambulance that was placed in our care, we were able to accommodate him in a safe, warm and dry room for his first two nights as we began constructing him a temporary pen and enclosure. No doubt due to the prolonged trauma of losing his mother, Ntoto took a while to trust his carers and become comfortable enough to take a bottle.
After days of intensive care and struggling to get him onto a bottle – we finally succeeded and today he is the same strong, resilient and curious little boy that we suspect he was when his mother was alive. He now has his own bigger enclosure and warm sleeping container and drinks up to 20 litres of milk a day. Ntoto enjoys long naps in the sun, playing with his bright pink ball and grazing on grass in his enclosure.