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SOS Rhino : In the News : Roger the rhino finds a new home

Roger the rhino finds a new home

  February 04 2004 at 09:50AM

By Lynette Strauss

Roger, an orphaned rhino, had his first encounter with man on the day he was born.

That may be one of the reasons why he has adjusted fairly well in the rehabilitation programme where he is now, according to Juliette Erdtsieck, who has been looking after him since he was taken to the Hoedspruit Research and Breeding Centre for Endangered Species at Kapama Game Reserve, west of the Kruger National Park.

The little rhino's adventurous life began on December 16, 2003 when his unexpected arrival caused a day of upheaval and drastic change of plans for the game capture team at Olifants River Game Reserve, Balule.

'It was soon apparent that his mother was rejecting him'The team had three rhino, two male and one female, waiting in the boma and ready for translocation to another section of the reserve, when Roger was born in the early hours.

It was soon apparent that his mother was rejecting him and Mario Cesare, general manager of the reserve, had an eventful day trying to unite the calf and his mother.

But that night a pride of lion threatened the boma, and when Cesare went out to investigate, he found no sign of the rhino female. The calf was alone inside the pen. Cesare knew the mother had deserted her baby.

The next day he phoned local veterinarian Pete Rogers, who advised Cesare that the Hoedspruit centre had rehabilitation facilities and an excellent track record with rearing orphaned rhino.

This persuaded Cesare to take the rhino to Kapama, where he has been under 24 hour observation since.

"I'm impressed with the facilities and care at the project," said Cesare.

Roger has gained 20kg since birth and now weighs almost 65kg. He drinks a special formula every three hours, day and night.

Erdtsieck is happy with his progress and says he already outruns her on the way back to the stables from his daily mud-bath.

*This article was originally published on page 3 of The Cape Argus on February 04, 2004