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Mawingo gives birth to another calf

June 09, 2007

Mawingo (meaning cloud in Swahili) is a 18 year old black rhino female. She has given birth to a total of six calves in her life at Lewa. She lost her sight in a fight when she was quite young and still lived at Nakuru National Park, and although her lack of sight does not present a problem for her it does reduce her ability to look after her offspring. Mawingo is a very good breeder and she has an average inter calving interval of 2.1 years.

When she gives birth we try and let the calf be with her for as long as possible. A team of armed guards keeps an eye on the pair, day and night. This gives us a good oversight as to when she looses her calf. History has shown over and again that if she does loose her calf then predators find an easy meal. This is why we have chosen to take the calves in a hand raise them, but only once they have been lost and not before.

This is a short history about her calves; Calf 1 was born on 27th August 1997 but was killed by hyenas on 1st September 1997, four days after it was born.

Omni, the second calf born on 24th October 1999 was hand raised by Jane Craig until 2002 when he was moved to Il Ngwesi. He is doing really well and it's reported that he has already established his territory.

Calf 3, born on 16th July 2002 and was killed on 17th August 2002 by one leopard.

Tula, is the fourth calf, was born on 4th of May 2004 was also adopted having been found alone two days after her birth and was hand raised by Jane Craig. She is doing very well and is a big strong rhino girl.

Elvis On 10th of October 2005 Mawingo gave birth again to a baby boy, a mere 18 months after she calved Tula (as a matter interest the gestation period for a rhino is only 15 to 16 months so there must have been a suitor waiting for Tula to be taken away!). Elvis was reared by Clare and Richard Moller and is fast becoming a big strong rhino boy.

And on the 6th of May 2007 she was yet again sighted with a new calf. The calf was a couple of days old so we think it was born on the 4th of May. They were both doing fine, and a surveillance team was duly deployed for the usual day and night observation. Knowing Mawingo's history of loosing her calf, we knew it was only a matter of time before we would be looking for this new addition. It came sooner than we thought! First light reported that Mawingo was on her own about two to three kilometres from where she and calf had been sighted the evening before. This was too far for the little calf to have moved. So a full on search ensued and the calf was soon found and picked up. This was quite fortunate as there was a pride of nine lions very close by who had killed a zebra in the night. There is also more good news: the calf is a little girl. Clare and Richard Moller were yet again given the task of raising the female calf.

At the moment, there are 54 black and 37 white rhinos on Lewa.

The rains have now gone and Lewa is green and beautiful and ready to welcome you all to visit!

Photo credit; Anna Parkinson