A young female kudu calf is fighting for survival at the Aquila Rescue Center, just outside of Cape Town, after been found alone and dehydrated in a neighbouring farmers Lucerne field.
Late last night the call came in and the Aquila Rescue Centre moved into action, mobilising their team of Animal Carers. The calf was immediately moved into the boma, built and being used by the orphaned rhino, Osita, now being hand reared by the Rescue Centre staff. Aquila Wildlife Conservationist, Divan Grobler, says, “ We pulled her through the first night with half hourly rehydration formula, and if all goes well we will start feeding her milk from this morning.” When asked how his strange little family were bonding, he said, “ The calf is still very young and Osita (the rhino) came to welcome her, smelling her and she was smelling him, Osita was very gentle with her. He spent the night sleeping next to her. The bonding seemed instantaneous”
Osita is currently weighing in at over 250 kgs and he is drinking up to 18 litres of milk a day, he is unussually large for a calf his age (3 ½ months) reaching up to his carers hips. He is very boisterous and enormously inquisitive. The rescue Centre has had a couple of scares with the little fellow over the last 2 weeks, when he went off his food, thankfully all is back to normal with him again and he is enthusiastically taking every feed. In the words of his Primary Carer, Grobler, “He has a warrior spirit”.
A Goat companion was introduced a couple of weeks back, initially the meeting was tentative with the goat holding back and being a little taken aback by the rhino calf’s enthusiasm at having a play mate, however, the goat has become braver and they now chase each other around their boma. The goat was introduced to assist Osita to teach Osita some “animal habits” such as grazing and, Osita, for the first time on Monday, starting experimenting with grazing.
The next 24 hours is critical for the young kudu calf and the Aquila Animal Rescue team are giving it 24 hour attention under the watchful eye of Osita.