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SOS Rhino : In the News : Rhinos' move to Ceres was not taken lightly Cape Times

Rhinos' move to Ceres was not taken lightly Cape Times

  June 9, 2004
By Babalo Ndenze

THE Aquila Private Game Reserve near Ceres received two White Rhinos worth R300 000 yesterday after a five-day delay in their arrival, because the pregnant female's weight collapsed the truck in which she was travelling.

The rhinos were supposed to have arrived at the game reserve last Thursday.

Reserve owner Searl Derman said the reason for the delay was the rhinos' weight which caused the rear axle of one of the vehicles to crack under the strain.

"The weight of the expectant cow is approximately 2.1 tons; she is a very huge Rhino.

"The calf weighs about 800kg," said Derman.

The animals were transported to Aquila on two specially designed "rhino vehicles".

Throughout the journey wildlife veterinarian Pierre Bester monitored the animals.

The rhinos, a 15 year-old female and a bull calf, which is about 14- to 20 months old, are from the Thabazimbi area in Limpopo province.

Derman said the cow was due to give birth in six to eight months' time.

The two will join another rhino, which was brought in from the Kruger National Park, and are expected to adapt well to the reserve, he said.

"We are incredibly excited and are giving the animals some time to settle into their new environment," he said.

They will be kept in a boma for three weeks to observe their eating patterns and monitor their intake of lucerne and water to check if they are adapting to the new environment.

A herd of five buffalo are also due to arrive at Aquila within the next month.

Derman added that it had been extremely difficult to finalise clearance for the rhinos due to disease possibilities.

The new arrivals will make the reserve the closest to Cape Town with four of the big five.

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