Rhino conservation history made as first calf is born from orphaned parents

“This baby is a symbol of the life and light that is possible. She is hope for the species and for humanity,” said Care for Wild’s founder, Petronel Nieuwoudt, following the birth of the calf.

 Photo: Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary

Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary (CFW) announced the birth of a rhino calf on Sunday – the world’s first-ever one to be born from parents who were both orphaned due to poaching, conceived and delivered naturally.

The sanctuary said rhino conservation history has been made with the arrival of a healthy female southern white rhino calf born to orphans Wyntir and Storm.

“The eight-year-old orphan, Wyntir, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 02:25 on Sunday February 13,” said the sanctuary.

“It was a monumental and emotional moment for Care for Wild’s founder and CEO, Petronel Nieuwoudt, and the Care for Wild team who run the world’s largest orphaned rhino sanctuary and specialise in the rescue, rehabilitation, release, and ongoing protection of this iconic and endangered species.”

Wyntir was just two months old and weighed 107 kilograms when she was rescued from Kingfisherspruit in the Kruger National Park after poachers had murdered her mother.

Photo: Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary

“Alone and defenceless, Wyntir was attacked by hyenas, who ripped off her ears and caused severe wounds. Wyntir’s name is a pure reflection of the hardship she endured and her struggle for survival.”

Storm was orphaned in the Limpopo area just over 10 years ago, in an equally devastating attack, when poachers brutally murdered his entire family and left the four-week-old calf to die.

Both Wyntir and Storm were rescued and brought to Care for Wild. They are two calves out of over 100 rhino orphans that have been rescued since the conservation project began in 2011.

According to CFW, “The rhino species is estimated be less than 10 years away from extinction and South Africa is at the centre of the rhino poaching war.

“The Kruger National Park has seen a decline in white rhino populations of 75% since 2011. In 2014, SANParks joined forces with Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary and created a memorandum of understanding to safeguard this heritage and the future of the species by rescuing and protecting the orphans left behind.”

Photo: Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary

“Wyntir and Storm have become the rhinos they were always supposed to be, and have just secured the future of their species.”

Nieuwoudt said, “I look at both Wyntir and Storm and all in one moment I see their whole journey. Every second of struggle, every hour of effort, every sacrifice and every person who gave everything to save them.

“Care for Wild’s vision is to secure the future of the species through viable black and white rhino breeding populations protected by communities.

“This baby is a symbol of the life and light that is possible. She is hope for the species and for humanity. Rhinos belong to the world and it is all of our responsibility to save them,” said the founder.

According to the sanctuary, this is just the beginning, as more orphaned rhinos are expected to give birth soon.

Read original story on lowvelder.co.za