Thinus aka Boet
Boet was about 2 months old when his mom, Doampie died of unknown natural causes. We had to quickly intervene and take Boet under our wing. Baby rhino’s suckle up to about 18 months of age, so Boet still had a lot of milk to drink!
Our resident angel, Rhino Momma Juliette, took him in and become his surrogate mother, feeding him every 2 hours and getting little sleep. As he grew and became bigger, he needed more milk. Luckily we could gradually increase the intervals between feeds.
On the 21 September 2018, we decided to move Boet to a new camp as his current enclosure was getting a bit small for him. So as the sun started to rise that morning, and it was still cool, the big move started. Boet, Juliette & Pendukeni started to walk the 1,5 km to the new camp, but Boet had other ideas and the trip went by quickly as he trotted most of the way.
So all settled in his new camp and happy, but Boet started to get a bit lonely and needed some attention other than human cuddles and love, so we decided to give him a friend named Skaap (sheep). Skaap and Boet bonded very quickly, but Boet still needed something more…rhino love and friendship!
But who? We noticed that one of the cows, Robin, had alienated her calf Jakob, because she had a new baby to look after. Usually the young calves that are rejected by moms in this way, find friends quickly and are then happy. But Mr J Bond, never really bonded with any of the calves his age and was always seen alone. At feeding times Juliette noticed that he had a very laid back, chilled nature and he would always come and have a chat with her. So, we decided since Mr J Bond had not bonded with anyone, and he really is still a baby, we should move him in with Boet and hopefully they will bond.
So Jakob had to be moved to join Boet and lucky for us and him, Juliette had a plan! She walked Jakob right into Boet’s camp, enticing him with some food and entertaining conversation.
So as soon as Boet and Jakob bonded, we started to pull away as much human contact as possible. Why? Boet needs to be a rhino, and also to have respect for and be ‘afraid’ of humans, mainly for his own safety and survival – and ours.
When a rhino is afraid of humans it just makes it a little bit harder for poachers to get close to them, while on the other hand, when they lose respect & no longer fear humans they can become very dangerous to us as well. Because we feed & work with them every day and want to see them often, we need them to have that personal space and respect for us as humans.
So as Boet keeps on growing into a big and strong rhino, we will continue to give him his milk until he is about 18 months old. We have started to make less contact with him, day by day, so that he can also one day be 100% rhino!
Currently Boet drinks +- 10 litres of milk 3 times a day, with glucose, probiotics and vitamins added to make sure he has everything needed.
Date of Birth: 1 January 2018
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