Little Ryan… Yesterday many of you may have seen a lot of helicopter activity in the Pilanesberg near Makorwane dam… This was because our Bathawk Pilots, Geoff and Rikus, had found a black rhino cow that was deceased while on their daily aerial patrols. Her horns were still on and she has been identified as Magdalene. Born here in 1995, Magdalene has been key in growing the Pilanesberg black rhino populations. Her death seems natural but we are still devastated by her loss as she was not old in rhino years. We will be sending her blood samples away to determine cause of death. It seems rhinos now have a virus to contend with, as if poaching is not enough! It is not definite that this is the case in Magdalene’s cause of death, but it has been recorded in rhinos in other areas. So, to be safe….

Once we found and identified Magdalene as the dead rhino, we knew there had to be a young calf around as she had given birth a few months ago. Nico Jacobs of Rhino 911 was ask to assist. Rhino 911 is a huge supporter of the Pilanesberg Rhinos and are available to call on, as and when, needed!

Nico, and Andrew Jackson of the Black Rhino Trust, got airborne and started searching. Andrew found the calf close to the mom’s carcass. There were lions feeding on the carcass so it was critical that we find and rescue the calf as soon as possible. Dr Gerhardus Scheepers of Zodiac Vet was asked to come out and assist. The calf was quickly immobilised, loaded, and transferred to The Rhino Orphanage. Andrew was asked to name him, since he found him, and so our latest orphan is called Ryan!

Ryan is about 9 or 10 months old and will need looking after for the next couple of years. TRO is a vital organisation in the rescue and support (lots of love) of rhino orphans. They do all the rescue and raising (and love) of our orphans at no cost to us whatsoever. They rely heavily on donor funding and are a magnificent organisation to support as well as you get to ‘adopt’ rhino orphans, and get updates from TRO.

Ryan already has his eye and ear covers off, and is allowing Yolande at TRO to stroke his little face… We will wait to hear how Ryan recovers and adapts, and will keep you all posted.

Thank you again our Bathawk Pilots, Rhino 911, Zodiac Vet, Andrew and TRO for the passion and support throughout. Thank you Charlotte (Lottie) Marais of Copenhagen Zoo Research and Regginah Smith of our Rhino Protection Unit for staying with little Ryan all of yesterday!

All donations are welcome and appreciated.

The Rhino Orphanage
Saving the Pilanesberg Rhinos
Rhino 911
Black Rhino Reserve Wildlife Trust