Nearly 20 months ago, Aquila Private Game Reserve was faced with the daunting task of raising and rehabilitating an orphaned rhino calf.  Over the months that followed the team faced and overcame many obstacles and challenges that come with hand-rearing a wild animal.  Searl Derman, owner of Aquila said, “It has been a thrill to watch this little rhino grow into the magnificent animal we now know as Osita.”

The growing scourge of poaching countrywide means that more and more rhino calves are left abandoned to fend for themselves. Poaching nationally, and particularly in the Kruger Park area, has reached pandemic proportions and add to this the dense bush riddled with snares that kill animals indiscriminately.

The Western Cape, on the other hand, has wide open spaces which gives little cover to the criminal with no snares or opportunistic poaching. Although organised crime poachers are active throughout South Africa the majority of the opportunist and subsistence bush meat poachers are concentrated up north.

With the experience gained and the infrastructure set up for Osita, it seemed that the only natural progression would be for Aquila to open its doors to any rhinos needing assistance. They now have the facilities to raise orphaned rhinos in a safe and secure environment with highly experienced staff to give these orphans the best chance possible.  Animal companionship for baby rhinos is imperative and the ideal companion would be another rhino.  Armed with these facilities and knowledge Aquila started to put out feelers for any baby rhinos that might find themselves orphaned and in need of immediate help.  Aquila has been approached to assist with 4 orphans to date, who are currently being stabilised prior to transportation.

The orphanage will not be open to the public, this is in the best interests of the rhino’s rehabilitation and security, it will be funded through the NGO “Saving Private Rhino” and Aquila, with the hope of further funding coming from Corporate and Private donations as well as an active volunteer program.  Around the clock security as well as tons of lucerne and thousands of litres of equine milk formula is needed, add to this the strict hygiene practices make this a very rewarding albeit expensive project. In addition, “Saving Private Rhino” intends to rehabilitate and release rhinos who have suffered gruesome facial and respiratory injuries due to poaching incidences. This will require the services of our vets who will provide lifesaving reconstructive surgery to allow these traumatised animal to breathe and eat normally.


For more information on the orphanage please facebook/aquilasafari facebook/ARC


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