Tuesday, 28 July 2015

"Donnie" the little engine that could

The little engine that could

Debbie English, who is in her fourth year of veterinary science at Onderstepoort, posted some touching photos this weekend of a little rhino calf who was stranded without its mother. And we followed the story.
In a bizarre incident in South Africa, visitors to Kruger national park encountered a very young lost Rhino that sought out their vehicle for support. It was later confirmed that the young calf of just over a year old was separated from its mother when the mother was killed in yet another poaching incident in the park.

Young rhino imprint on their mothers and it’s probably no coincidence that the vehicle had a similar colouration to that of rhinos. It was incredibly sad to see the little one adopting the greyish vehicle as its mom, and not wanting to leave the vehicle asking for support.  You could not help but think of the terrible circumstances that led to this moment and its journey in search of help, and the luck involved in encountering a tourism road and a familiar grey coloured vehicle.

Imprinting is regularly seen by safari guides in many animal species, when they lose their mother, with some baby wildebeest running for kilometres to keep up with their new “mom” as a safari vehicle drives away.

Debbie’s father Don English, a Regional Ranger for Marula South Region, together with the veterinarian managed to tranquilize the tiny rhino and fly him to a new home.

He was named after the Kruger Park’s regional ranger, Don English, who, along with a veterinarian, came to his aid.

This however didn’t go without its hiccups along the route, proving once again that this little guy is not only special but had all its angels on-board.

The pilot had to make an emergency landing after this little Donnie, as he was referred to by now, flat-lined. After 3 minutes of resuscitation and trying everything to save him... everyone involved was amazed (some with tear filled eyes) when he gasped for air and his little heart started up again. After a rough ride he finally made it to his new home where he probably had a good snooze and is now hopefully settled in.

The public don't often hear about successes like these so I would like to share this happy ending with you and ask to support our rangers, veterinarians and all the other special people involved in the fight against rhino poaching!

Thanks Debbie, for this incredible feel good story that highlights not only the plight of our Rhino, but also the amazing people on the ground that work tirelessly to save our endangered “Donnies” out there in the bush! 

Where is he now? 

The story has a somewhat happy ending though, because he is now being looked after by Care for Wild Africa, an organisation that rehabilitates wild animals on a reserve in Mpumalanga.
“He’s doing very well. He drank all his milk and he’s walking around,” the organisation’s Marnelle van der Merwe said on Monday.
If you are interested in sponsoring or donating to Care for Wild Africa, they would so appreciate it, and it would help so many of the little rhinos who end up here. “They do an absolutely incredible job,” says Debbie.
Care for Wild Africa website: http://www.careforwild.co.za/ 
Source and images Debbie English: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.english.1654 

Some more Images