'Mommy' rhino bonding with her calf‚ after abandoning her first-born

28 November 2017 - 16:22 By Timeslive
Cow bonding with her newborn white rhino calf at the Aquila Private Game Reserve.
Cow bonding with her newborn white rhino calf at the Aquila Private Game Reserve.
Image: Henk Kruger

A white rhino calf has been born at the Aquila Private Game Reserve‚ two years after the cow abandoned her first calf.

The reserve‚ in the Western Cape‚ was overjoyed at the birth and about the fact that the cow appears to be bonding with her newborn.

The birth took place just after 11am on Sunday 26 November 2017 but was only announced on Tuesday.

Searl Derman‚ the owner of Aquila‚ said every rhino life is important to the survival of the species‚ especially as "the global rhino poaching crisis continues to rampage‚ coupled with the mere fact that rhino are notoriously slow breeders".

"The mother and baby are doing well and the team have noted a strong bond which is a positive indication and a great relief‚" Aquila said in a statement.

"The joy of the birth is a wonderful and special milestone."

The calf‚ whose gender is yet to be determined‚ is the second offspring for the cow‚ and a sibling to Osita‚ the young rhino that was born in the middle of the night on 31 December 2015 and subsequently abandoned.

After several attempts to reintroduce mother and baby‚ Osita was 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 sought milk and comfort.

The reserve said 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."

Osita is now four weeks shy of his second birthday.