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  • Michelle Sole

Swapping Christmas Presents to Feed Orphaned Baby Rhinos.

2020 has certainly been one for the books! Amidst the roller coaster of it all, I’ve been very fortunate to spend the past few months helping out at the Rhino Orphanage in South Africa. Founded in 2012 by Arrie Van Deventer, the Rhino Orphanage is the world’s first facility dedicated solely to rescuing and rehabilitating rhino calves whose mothers have been poached for their horns. Many of these calves are still reliant on milk and those that are not are too small to protect themselves from predators so will not survive alone in the wild. The Rhino Orphanage aims to release every rhino that comes through its doors. Visitors are not permitted at the orphanage and these animals are not exposed for profit or gain; the Rhino Orphanage is a non profit organisation and survives solely on donations.

At this time, there are four milk dependant orphaned rhino calves at ophanage.

Each calf has it's own harrowing tale of how it came to be here and if it wasn’t for this incredible place these calves would not be alive today. Since arriving at The Rhino Orphanage they have formed bonds with other orphaned rhino calves and have quickly settled into the daily routine.

What does a daily routine of an orphaned rhino calf look like?


Each morning the calves are fed at 6am and after a breakfast of milk, dried grass and specially formulated bush pellets they go for a walk in the bush with their human carers. This is an opportunity for the calves to exercise and display natural behaviours such as exploration, grazing and mud wallowing - one of their favourite past times!

After their walk, it’s time for milk again, often followed by a rest in the shade or another mud wallow. The afternoon consists of more milk and another walk in the bush before another feed of milk, dried grass and pellets. During the night the rhinos are monitored and fed again.

A rhino calf can drink up to twenty litres of milk a day and will continue to drink milk until they are around 18 months old. Feeding a milk dependent rhino calf costs approximately $10 a day, this is without taking into consideration the general running costs of the facility, veterinary bills and the cost of security. This Christmas, more than any other, I encourage you to think carefully about your Christmas presents. Charities need our support now more than ever. Check out www.donorbox.org/kolisi-s-christmas where you can choose to support an orphaned rhino in a variety of ways and in return receive a gift certificate to your loved one from you. Get a Christmas present with meaning, and help save an orphaned baby rhino!

Thank you for your support.

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