The Current Crash

Photo by RR-SA Rehabber: (c) Phillip Vivier

From one of the South Africa’s facility vet nurses, Jacky – “This is me at my current job doing what I can for the little ones left behind after the horrors of poaching. I have watched this little girl grow and find herself, leaving behind the trauma that she experienced a couple months ago, that no rhino calf should have to experience! She is one of the lucky ones that actually got found before it was too late. We need to do more to stop the senseless killing…The poaching crisis is NOT getting better, the numbers shown to the public are falsely positive. Arrests are few and far between. I hate to say it but the future looks grim for these magnificent creatures but we will continue to fight for them for as long as we can and give it our all!”


Looking at a happy and healthy Thamani now, it is easy to forget the trauma she has been through in her young life and the tragedy she had been through just seven months ago (March 2019) when she arrived……
On a nearby reserve a patrol flight was dispatched after hearing gun shots. Thamani was spotted from the air. She was too young to be alone, and the ground team knew her mother would be somewhere nearby. The terrified and distressed calf led the rangers to her dead mother – who had been shot and her horn brutally removed. The tragic images below show Thamani’s rescue.

The little orphan was darted and stabilised by the veterinary team before being transported to the Rhino Revolution facility in Hoedspruit. The photos below show her poor murdered mother and Thamani being rescued by the dedicated rangers. She was so traumatised she woke up crying every 20-40 minutes at night for the first 2 weeks and didn’t drink milk for a month – only surviving on freshly picked green grass.
Thanks to a lot of hard work, dedication and love over the first seven months, Thamani is now thriving. We all look forward to the day she is old enough to be released back into the wild…With rhino numbers still being drastically reduced by poaching – every surviving rhino is vital to help ensure the future genetic diversity of a healthy, viable and sustainable population of wild animals.
A huge thank you to all the Balule Game Reserve rangers, warden, reserve manager and anti-poaching teams, overseen by Chair Sharon Haussmann  who work tirelessly to help save this iconic African animal.

6 Months Later

Callan was one of the APU rangers who tracked this orphan tirelessly under a full moon until she was found. Six months later (September 2019) he came to see how she was doing, and as you can see he was pretty impressed! It is wonderful to hear how visible the remarkable change in Thamani is; especially from those who aided in her rescue.
Men like this are on the front line, making a difference each day.
Kudos to every one of them.

12 months later

A photograph taken the day that this little orphan arrived and now exactly a year later (March 2020)! This incredible little girl gave us all a lot of sleepless nights as she was too traumatised and confused to feed properly for a long time. As you can see, she is now a confident young lady that fully justifies her name of Thamani – or Precious!

The Next Step

The two calves are getting ready for the next stage of their rehabilitation, which will include new food.
Whenever there is a change in their diet, it is very important, just like all animals, to transition them slowly. Any sudden changes in food can cause gastrointestinal upset, such as colic and diarrhoea. We avoid this by starting with small amounts of the new food added to the old food and gradually increasing it until we are only feeding the new food. It is also important that the changeover is done over a minimum of 2 weeks, changing the ratio of new to old every couple of days. Luckily, Rhino Revolution South Africa’s Vet Nurse Jacky Spiby is on hand to oversee this and ensure all runs smoothly.


Some exciting, positive news from Rhino Revolution, in these uncertain times!

We are proud and delighted to announce that Thamani and her buddy, nicknamed Defender by our team, have successfully reached the next stage of their rehabilitation process.

Now that they are both approx. 18 to 20 months old, they are fully weaned and thriving. So they have been moved into a larger rehabilitation area to continue their rewilding process. This has been approved by the State Vet. Their new home is back on the reserve where Defender came from. As the two calves have formed a close social bond, it was agreed with Balule Reserve, who own Thamani, that Thamani should accompany Defender in this next stage of rehabilitation. The social welfare of the calves is our priority.

Although they are now no longer under Rhino Revolution South Africa’s care – we look forward to keeping you updated with their progress as they continue their journey back to the wild.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in the care of these two young calves over the past 15 months – including Anna Mussi, Jacky Spiby, Phillip Vivier, Karabo and the Environmental Monitors, and Sharon Haussmann and #BalulePrivateNatureReserve for all their support, and everyone who has helped raise funds for their upkeep.