At the beginning of the 20th century, half a million Rhino roamed Africa. Today, approximately 27,000 are left on the continent. This figure is made up of approx. 18,000 White Rhino species and 5,500 Black Rhino species. In the last decade 9,885 rhino have been poached, with one rhino being poached for its horn every 22 hours at present. Thus, the survival of every rhino is important if we are to prevent extinction.
LAEO has worked extensively in the field of Rhino protection and conservation, both independently and as a member of the largest rhino protection group in South Africa. LAEO assisted with funding aerial surveillance over numerous Reserves in KwaZulu Natal and worked closely with a number of organizations to protect rhino during the poaching crisis that hit the area over the last ten years.
As LAEO has many years of experience with implementing and managing large conservation projects, having previously built and managed a rhino orphanage in Zululand, we have decided to use those skills to create another safe haven for orphaned rhino.
LAEO will be building a new rhino orphanage & sanctuary in the Western Cape.
The new facility will be able to treat orphaned rhino calves and sub-adult rhino. Rhino calves can be orphaned due to poaching, drought and being separated from the mother.
When adult female Rhino are poached the calves are not usually killed as they are not a threat to poachers who do not want to make any additional noise by taking an additional shot. If these babies are found in time they can be fully rehabilitated and released back into the wild once they are weaned and old enough to survive on their own.
During drought rhino calves may be born prematurely if the mother is under too much stress as a result of inadequate food and water. In these circumstances the baby maybe too small to reach the mothers teat or the mother may not have milk. These babies are usually undersize and their systems are compromised, they can, however, still be reared and release successfully with specialised care.
There are times when a sub-adult Rhino needs to be rewilded and/or moved. If a young Rhino gets injured in the wild and needs veterinary care they do need to be kept at a facility until full recovered, before they can be released back into the wild. There are also times when young Rhinos get rehomed to new reserves and may need to be boma’ed during the relocation.
The new facility will be able to take in and deal with young Rhino and bring them up to a point where they can be successfully rehabilitated and released.