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Lewa Loses Charlie, Its Orphaned Black Rhino

August 28, 2009

We are writing today with some sad news. Charlie, Lewa's latest orphaned black rhino, has passed away. Charlie was a young calf, only 10 months old, and was one of the most-loved rhinos on the Conservancy. Charlie was found by the Lewa security just a couple of days after his birth. Even during his very early months we realized he was not growing as fast as normal and was showing signs of being stunted. This is not the first calf from his mother "Mawingo" that has faced this problem. As time went on we became more aware of the challenges that lay ahead in hand-rearing a rhino that may well have not enjoyed the full colostrum levels in his early days of life that are necessary for normal and healthy growth.

Charlie died on August 19th in the late evening. His faithful keeper was sleeping with him and woke up seeing Charlie with a bloated stomach and obviously in pain. His keeper called John Pameri, our Head of Security. John arrived within a few minutes, but sadly this was just too late. Charlie was already dead. A necropsy was done the next day and it was determined that Charlie died of abnormalities in the stomach as well as an irregular sized liver.

We are extremely sorry to write with such bad news. But losing rhinos is a reality we have to face. Our recruitment and survival rate has been extremely good on the Conservancy over the years at a rate of over 12% growth. This is way above the National recruitment rate which has hovered around 5%.

Everyone on Lewa is deeply saddened by Charlie's death. Charlie had touched the heart of everyone, especially those of us who had a chance to feed him. He was also a great ambassador to educate and talk about the plight of black rhinos in Africa. He will be truly missed.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about Charlie and other rhinos on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.