Titilei, a robust white rhino living on Lewa delivered her third calf about a month ago much to delight of the entire Conservancy. While there is nothing extraordinary about a southern white rhino reproducing, according to our resident vet Dr. Matthew Mutinda, Titilei's latest delivery falls slightly short of being classified a miracle.
Five years ago, the rhino's reproductive tract prolapsed in three recurrent episodes, a condition extremely rare in mega herbivores. However, despite lack of previous experience in treating anything similar, Lewa's vet team immobilised the rhino and carried out surgical treatment. The whole operation was riddled with uncertainty - no one was sure what the outcome would be. Prior to the treatment, Titilei had had a miscarriage as a result of the condition and many were convinced the rhino would never breed.
Following her treatment, rangers kept watch of the rhino, recording progressive improvement in her general health. When they reported her latest pregnancy last year, everyone at Lewa was worried but hoped for the best.
We are happy to now report that Titilei gave birth to a healthy male calf, much to the delight of everyone on the Conservancy!
Lewa's vet Dr. Matthew Mutinda explains why this falls short of a biological miracle:
"This condition is extremely rare in white rhinos (and other mega herbivores) and the outcome of the treatment was uncertain as its equally rarely successful. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a successful case has been reported in Kenya, especially the fact that she has healed completely and delivered a healthy calf."
You too can share in Titilei's miracle by naming or adopting her gorgeous calf! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.