Thursday, November 12, 2015

Forget curling up with a cat, the most amazing thing in the world is cuddling
an orphaned baby rhino.
(Photo: Khululu Care for the Wild)There is almost
nothing more heartbreaking in South Africa"s war against rhino poaching than
seeing a baby pachyderm standing watch over its dead mother, mourning.
Many
times the babies, too young to survive on their own, are also doomed; others
are rescued — their fate unknown.
But now, there is a facility in the
north of the country where these babies are, fed, cared for, and ultimately
released to the wild — and it"s guests (who pay for the volunteer
experience) who are doing it.It"s the new hands-on wildlife experience."At
Khulula Care for the Wild, situated on the banks of the Vreek, Noord-Kaap, and
Queens rivers, in Mpumulanga, South Africa, you can actually cuddle, nurse,
wean, and play with orphaned rhino babies whose mothers have been slaughtered
by poachers.According to Ellen Sziede, the marketing manager for"African
Conservation Experience,"which runs Khululu, "there are an estimated 20,000
white rhino and 5,000 black rhino left in Africa.
South Africa has by far the
biggest population of all African countries, being home to almost 90 percent
of all African white rhino.
So the current estimated population for South
Africa is about 18,000 white rhino and just under 2,000 black rhino."Related:
Rhino Genocide in Africa Must Be StoppedViktor Barkas, who runs the Rhino
Protrack team, which patrols for poachers on privately owned land outside of
Kruger, in Hoedspruit, South Africa, told me last year that in the small area
he patrols there are 2,000 rhinos — 126 of which were slaughtered in
the first half of last year, leaving many rhino offspring orphaned."it is not
a war on rhino," Barkas said.
"It is a genocide."
The unlucky orphans (from
all over the country, not just Barkas"s area) end up at Khululu, where the
rhinos are raised and eventually released back into the wild in a program
reminiscent of the wildly successful David Sheldrick elephant orphanage, in
Kenya."Volunteers are asked to stay for a minimum of two weeks —
although exceptions are made — and during this time they rotate in and
out of three teams.Baby Olive loves her bottle.
(Photo: Khululu Care for the
Wild)The first team, the Baby Team, looks after the youngest rhinos, which are
still fed by bottle.
"Travelers in this team spend a lot of time preparing the
special milk formula and doing the bottle feeds, mothering the smallest
rhinos, as they sometimes need people to stay with them at night when they are
very small, and also helping with the veterinary care for new arrivals,"
Sziede said.Because who doesn"t love a good mud bath and a scrub? (Photo:
Khululu Wild Care)
After working with the smallest rhinos, guests move on to
Team Rhino, which takes care of the weaned animals, including recording
feeding behavior and preparing mud baths for the little guys.And then there"s
Team Other — which isn"t as bad as it sounds."Care for the Wild looks
after a lot of other species as well, not just the rhinos," Sziede
explained.
"They currently have two hippos, three lions, several birds of
prey, various antelope, a baby vervet monkey, and mongoose.
All of these
animals need feeding, enclosure maintenance, and enrichment — from
playing with the monkey and mongoose to taking the hippos for a swim."Related:
The Retirement Home for Retired Lumber Elephants in MyanmarLook who made a new
friend… (Photo: Khululu Care for the Wild)Sziede added that""This is
hard work: Volunteers wake up at around 6 a.m.
and go to bed at around 7 p.m
… unless they are on the midnight feeding slot." But the work is worth
it.Related: Want to Have a Baby Cheetah Sleepover? Here"s How to Make Your
Dreams Come TrueAnd while there seem to be a lot of babies around, "There
actually should be more babies (rescued)," Barkas said.
"The poachers will
kill the mother for the horn, and if the baby isn"t scared off, they will
often kill it too just to silence it."Slumber party!Costs to volunteer (which
include include pick-up/drop-off from Johannesburg Airport, accommodations,
meals, and funding) are:Two weeks: US$3,150Three weeks: US$4,050Four weeks:
US$4,800
Watch: Meet the Men Fighting to Save South Africa"s Rhinos:Let World
traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on
Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.Check out our original adventure
travel series,""A Broad Abroad."For more on World traveling club Travel"s
travel policy, click here.Forget curling up with a cat, the most amazing thing
in the world is cuddling an orphaned baby rhino.
(Photo: Khululu Care for the
Wild) There is almost nothing more heartbreaking in South Africa's war
against rhino poaching than seeing a baby pachyderm standing watch over its
dead mother, mourning.
Many times the babies, too young to survive on their
own, are also doomed; others are rescued — their fate unknown.
But now,
there is a facility in the north of the country where these babies are, fed,
cared for, and ultimately released to the wild — and it's guests (who pay
for the volunteer experience) who are doing it..Let World traveling club
Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,"Twitter,
Instagram, and Pinterest.Check out our original adventure travel series,""A
Broad Abroad."For more on World traveling club Travel"s travel policy, click
here.Forget curling up with a cat, the most amazing thing in the world is
cuddling an orphaned baby rhino.
(Photo: Khululu Care for the Wild) There is
almost nothing more heartbreaking in South Africa's war against rhino
poaching than seeing a baby pachyderm standing watch over its dead mother,
mourning.
Many times the babies, too young to survive on their own, are also
doomed; others are rescued — their fate unknown.
But now, there is a
facility in the north of the country where these babies are, fed, cared for,
and ultimately released to the wild — and it's guests (who pay for the
volunteer experience) who are doing it.

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