It may be hard to imagine describing any rhinocerous as “cute” or “adorable.” That is, until you see this baby rhino recently rescued from an untimely end.
Aquila Animal Rescue Centre outside of Cape Town, South Africa, has a rambunctious recent arrival in the form of an adorable (there’s that word again!) baby rhinoceros. The not-so little fellow was rescued from the wild when he was discovered abandoned by his mother.
Divan Grobler and Aquila Rescue Centre staff believe that the mother rhino became confused when another nearby rhino baby entered the picture. She subsequently abandoned her own offspring as a result.
Fortunately, Divan and his colleagues were there to “adopt” the baby after unsuccessfully attempting to reunite it with its mother. Caring for an energetic baby rhino is more than a fulltime job for the center. The baby needs to be fed every couple of hours and will consume around 42 pints of milk formula every day.
The rescue center team will be committing themselves to 18 months of weaning, care and assuming a mother rhino’s role of “teaching” the baby how to care for itself, before attempting to reintroduce the youngster back into the wild.
The center is trying to raise donations to help fund the care of the baby. Recently they held a naming contest to get the ball rolling. Only yesterday did they proclaim the winning name, as the center’s Facebook page formally recognized and introduced little Osita to the world with the following announcement:
“Osita is of Nigerian (Igbo) origin and means ‘from today onwards it will be better’. And it certainly is for this little fellow, now weighing over 100kgs and gulping down over 20 litre of Equine milk formula every day at 3 hourly feeds, he is strong, boisterous, mischievous and inquisitive and in the words of his carer, Divan Grobler, ‘he walks to the beat of his own drum’.”
Donations are still urgently needed to fund the next year-and-a-half of Osita’s care. People can donate at the Aquila Animal Rescue Centre website.
It seems likely that young Osita may become a symbol of rhino conservation, and a much welcome rallying figure in the fight against the poaching and habitat loss that is threatening the future of the world’s rhinos.