PICS: Birth of white rhino calf brings hope and joy

Cape Town - Amid the many heartbreaking incidents from across the continent of ruthless killings of rhino for their horns, the birth of a white rhino in the Western Cape adds a glimmer of hope for the endangered species.

Aquila Private Game Reserve announced the birth of another white rhino calf, born just after 11:00 on Sunday, 26 November.

"The calf is another special addition to other calves already welcomed at the reserve, in the Western Cape, in the space of two short years," says the Game Reserve.

ALSO SEE:  WATCH: Rhino calves orphaned by poachers successfully released back into the wild!

As rhino poaching continues and because rhinos are slow breeders, Searl Derman - owner of Aquila - acknowledges how vital every rhino life is to the survival of the species.

Rhino birth a special milestone

According to Aquila, the calf, whose gender is yet to be determined, is the second offspring for the cow, and a sibling to Osita.

"The Aquila team recently called on the services of Dr Johan Marais and Dr Zoe Glyphis from ‘Saving the Survivors’ and Dr Doempies Triegaardt from Bergriver Vet Hospital, to investigate and treat Osita's mother for an abscess on the side of her face," says the Reserve.

"It was an emotional and exciting moment when Dr Triegaardt was able to examine her and confirm her suspected pregnancy. Staff at the reserve monitored the cow’s progress during the following months whilst she remained in the crash, but noted in recent days that she was showing signs of the impending birth."

Aquila says that the mother and newborn are doing well and "the team have noted a strong bond which is a positive indication and a great relief".

A white rhino mother bonds with her newborn calf. (Photo: Henk Kruger/ ANA)

Aquila Private Game Reserve says "the joy of the birth is a wonderful and special milestone" and it is grateful to the anti-poaching unit who are "committed to the daunting task of protecting another treasured rhino".

"The unit reported that it was a privilege to have witnessed the pair together and a moment that will live with them forever,” adds the Game Reserve.

(Photo: Henk Kruger/ ANA)

The bittersweet story of Osita

Osita is the rhino that was born on 31 December 2015 and subsequently abandoned. "The bittersweet story of Osita, who is now four weeks shy of his second birthday, unfolded as the public waited with bated breath for updates of his welfare to be revealed," says the Game Reserve.

"After several attempts to reintroduce mother and baby, Osita was uplifted and taken to be cared for by the experienced ‘Saving Private Rhino’ team before he reached advanced stages of dehydration or suffered potentially fatal injuries by other members of the crash as he desperately sort milk and comfort," adds the Reserve.

Aquila says that Osita is now a healthy and strong bull, in the final stages of his rehabilitation and reintroduction to the wild.

"The team are working with him on a soft release programme which has included the successful weaning off of his milk bottles and walks in the reserve to familiarise himself with the environment," adds Aquila.

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