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Another hand-reared rhino calf on Lewa!

October 26, 2005

On 10th of October Mawingo, our 15 year old partially blind black rhino mother 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 16 months so there must have been a suitor waiting for Tula to be taken away!). As soon as we noticed that Mawingo had calved we deployed an armed team to watch over them day and night, in order to ensure that predators did not strike, as they have on two occasions before.

Last Sunday we lost track of the baby at night. Immediately we deployed search parties (at one stage on Monday we had over 60 people combing the bush, including mechanics and accountants!). We were concerned on Monday night when we could not find the calf. However on Tuesday morning another party found the calf hidden under a bush, thankfully none the worse for wear, albeit dehydrated.

This little guy is very lucky. On Monday we found fresh leopard tracks super-imposed on top of the calf's tracks then on Tuesday morning we found lion spore within 50 m. of his hiding place.

The calf has been brought in safely and is now being tended day and night by Clare Moller and his keeper Tonga. We have had to put the calf at Clare's house because Jane's is full of two older and more boisterous children, Tula and Max. Jane is helping Clare with much advice and support.

We are not out of the woods yet but we believe there is a good chance of Mawingo's son growing to join a successful hand rearing programme which now includes Omni and Tula

This is Mawingo's previous record for her calves;

Calf 1 was born on 27th August 1997 but was predated on 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 died on 17th August 2002 from of predation by leopards.

Tula, is the fourth calf, was born on 5th June 2004. Her mother kept on loosing her, and to save it from predators, it was taken away and now it's being hand raised by Jane Craig. She is doing very well and is a big strong rhino girl.

If you would like to name Mawingo's calf please contact me on sara@lewa.org. We will be asking for at least $12,000 to name this calf because of the sponsor's chance to follow closely his upbringing.

Best Regards Sara