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SOS Rhino : In the News : Too Soon, But Not Too Late for Baby Black Rhino

Too Soon, But Not Too Late for Baby Black Rhino


From International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

(Cape Town, South Africa - 28 May 2003) - Reading like an adventure novel, a midnight dash to save a tiny premature black rhino (Diceros bicornis) has hopefully saved the life of a member of one of the world's most endangered species.

The mercy mission saw the male rhino, nicknamed Kapçla - "the one who came too soon" - wrapped in a duvet, and held fast in the arms of Karen Trendler, one of South Africa's leading wildlife rehabilitators, as a mercy mission rushed through the night to move the rhino from the Kruger National Park to the Wildcare Africa Trust.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW -, which supports Wildcare, said the rescue had hopefully saved the life of the rhino, which had been born premature and was unable to suckle from its mother.

" It is an enormous acknowledgement of Karen's skills as a specialist rehabilitator of rhino, that a world renowned national park like Kruger called on her to help in this emergency," said Jason Bell-Leask, IFAW Southern Africa Regional Director. "IFAW applauds the pragmatic approach of South African National Parks in choosing to use an independent specialist, rather than risk the life of a member of a species that is endangered almost to extinction."

Only 3,100 black rhino remain in Africa, more than 1,179 of them in South African game reserves. In some African countries they are completely extinct. Between 1970 and 1992, numbers of blacks rhinos fell by 96 per cent, from approximately 65,000 to 2,300, mostly due to poaching.

Trendler said she had high hopes for the long-term future of the baby black rhino, which weighed just 18 kilograms (39 pounds) and was less than knee high when he arrived at Wildcare's rehabilitation centre just outside Pretoria.

" Kapçla was desperately ill when he arrived here and for the first two weeks it was touch and go as to whether he would survive but he has pulled through so far, and is now learning to play and goes for walks every day," said Trendler.

Kapçla is the sixth black rhino calf that Trendler is rearing and the 27th rhino overall.

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