Jan 28, 2010

White Stork checks himself in at the Moholoholo Animal Rehab

In 11 May 2009 we noticed a White Stork outside the Moholoholo Animal Rehab gate. Usually elegant and graceful birds this particular one had difficulty in moving. We decided to go out and see what was wrong. Soon it was found that this beautiful bird had a terribly injured leg. On discovering this we realized that somehow this bird was trying to check itself into rehab!Quietly and surely we walked up to the poor bird with the aim of trying to catch it whilst causing the least amount of stress! Once we had it we whisked it off to the clinic where we could take a closer look at it’s leg.

The leg seemed to have been burnt and from past experiences it looked as if these burns had been inflicted by the likes of a power line. Power lines are deadly obstructions to birds especially those where the wires are lined up vertically instead of horizontally – they act as an electric net from which grasp many birds do not escape alive.Brian, assisted by our vet nurse treated the Stork immediately and prepared food for it.

Soon enough we were all calling this self-checked in patient “Storkie” and watched as its leg healed slowly and painfully. The next obstacle we faced was when could we release Storkie back into the wild? White Storks are naturally migratory birds and so we had to keep Storkie safe and comfortable until his fellow companions returned from their adventures over the ocean. Sightings of White Storks had recently been reported and Storkie was fit and healthy enough to be reunited with his fellow Storks who were slowly returning in search of food and the warmer climate.

The time came! And on the 24th December 2009 Storkie was set free once again on Nhoveni, a part of the greater Kruger owned by Moholoholo. The volunteers went with and were quite surprised when he did not bolt out of the box and flap away to his future. Instead he stood a while and preened his feathers… perhaps wanting to make sure he would make a good impression on his new family? I am sure they will all have a lot to catch up on and new adventures to plan!

nThombi Toodles Off To Her New Home

nThombi came to us on the 7th October 2009 after suddenly being left in the world all on her own when her mother died from fatal wounds inflicted by another rhino.

If you read the blog written of her arrival you will have understood that she was not very welcoming of new people, but slowly she came to be accepting of having people around her and turned out to be a very gentle giant indeed. nThombi showed us that girls really are made of “sugar and spice and all things nice” and quickly won everybody over with her soft calls and high pitched whistles. After a few days Brian was able to wipe his brow in relief, safe in the knowledge that he would not have to climb into the steel barrel that nThombi was busy smashing to smithereens, in order to offer her milk.

Like all the other rhinos that have moved through Moholoholo nThombi showed an enormous liking for a good old mud wallow! One had to feel sorry if the volunteer looking after her happened to absentmindedly walk past the mud hole without the intention of stopping while she lathered herself in oozing mud. Because once she had decided to stop for a splash… it was very difficult to persuade her otherwise. On one occasion I saw her being extremely sneaky! She hopped in for a quick dip and her rhino sitter called her and called her. Surprisingly she seemed to listen and followed… but once the volunteer seemed to be happy that she did not need to coerce nThombi any more and walked on, nThombi whipped around and went bolting back! There seemed to be no better way to while away her time than in the cool slushy mud!

nThombi grew stronger (and bigger) everyday  and was fit and healthy from the start. So the time came for us to start looking to find her a new home. And what more wonderful place to send her to join Thabo! They were excited about the prospects of having a friend for Thabo and we were happy that she would be going to a good home. So once again they arrived with a crate to transport nThombi to the lush greenery that is distinctive of Empangeni. Now well versed in rhino travel, things went more smoothly and before we knew it nThombi was on her way while we all waved goodbye knowing that soon we would have the feeling of something missing.

nThombi has since settled down well and after a few days of getting to know each other her and Thabo are the best of friends! Aly McPhee, who was nThombi’s dedicated mother, had the wonderful opportunity of being able to go with her charge to help look after her in her new surrounds. What a lucky girl! She worked hard and we definitely all agree it is an opportunity well deserved.