Sep 30, 2009

Happily Ever After for the two baby white rhinos

As most of you would have read in a previous article, Kuza and Satara are the two baby white rhinos that arrived here at Moholoholo within days of each other last year. In a year they have swept us off our feet (figuratively speaking) and have grown into 2 handsome yet cumbersome hunks.

Many dedicated hours were spent in the raising of these babies. Which gave us the privilege to go on a wonderfully, delightful, humorous journey with Kuza and Satara as we watched these two grow. Watching their milestones was fascinating as they were so different in nature one from the other.

At one stage we thought they would not make it when they both became ill. They overcame their great ordeal, flourishing back into two healthy ‘Tanks’ who once again swept us off our feet (literally speaking this time). There were times when one could only marvel at how such gentleness could come from such huge bodies yet on the other hand they could knock you over with a rather boisterous nudge leaving many a bruised leg or chin!

During their time here, many who passed through these gates had the advantage of seeing and touching these babies and shared in the privilege of having a baby rhino so close and to have the opportunity to touch and feel and note their characters. It would now be a different sighting when they spot a rhino in the wild as now they can identify it, not only from a distance but to remember the opportunity they had to feel and see the skin and what their eyes actually looked like.

We had many a laugh as they galloped around at full speed chasing and charging each other. The most comical was to watch them slip and slide and wallow in a mud pool which brought about smiles to faces and a glow in our hearts. One wonders how those feet and stumpy legs can carry those bulky bodies and yet still gain that fast speed and turn at a split second as they romp and play without falling over!

Of course time passes on and the time soon comes when one must say goodbye to those we care for and if one finds greener pastures we must let them go. So the time came too quickly for us when they were ready to move onto the next chapter of their lives. They began to act more and more as rhinos should and we had to move them to an enclosure until we were 100 % certain they were fit and healthy and ready to be relocated to their new home. Fortunately it was not for too long and we went about making the necessary arrangements for permits.

On 27 August 2009, the owners-to-be, came to collect, our not so little babies. We were thrilled to meet the new owners and to see the love they showed towards the rhinos. This made us feel happier knowing they were going to a home where they would be well cared for and so many hearts relaxed that day to have this assurance.

With the vet in attendance Kuza and Satara were darted and Kuza, being the softy that he is, was happily led to the vehicle and settled in his hay without a hassle. Satara . . . . . oh Satara, put up a bit of a fuss, those of you who know him are probably not surprised! For those of you who did not meet Satara, let us explain. . . . As Satara grew he became more certain of what he wanted – usually his milk - and if he did not get it when he wanted it he would sure let us know, he became cantankerous and would use a flip of that heavy chin to let his feeling be known and sent many a person running until the milk arrived and then all and sundry would re-appear for there “baby sitting” duties. He liked to remind people that he is in fact a rhino. Satara often enjoyed a game of jousting and he usually proposed this “game” when your hands were full or when you were completely unprepared. Once the sedative was given to Satara he fought it and stubbornly refused to be led in! He had made Moholoholo his home and he was not going to leave without a fight!

(Satara consoling Kuza after being darted)

 Finally, after much coaxing, false starts and dodging charges, Satara decided that it was not such a bad idea after all and joined Kuza in the comfort of the vehicle that would drive them off into the sunset.

Their fairytale ending is just the beginning as they will explore the grounds of the huge sanctuary that they have moved to. They will have acres of ground too roam on and will one day produce young ones of their own.

A very big THANK YOU goes out to all the rhino parents (you know who you are) who gave of their blood, sweat and tears to bring these two precious rhinos to where they are now. It is greatly appreciated and I am sure Kuza and Satara are eternally grateful! Now we can turn our full attention to Thabo, our next baby rhino who is almost 3 months now!

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