Safari company & publisher
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel
Klaserie Sands River Camp

Nicky, now four months old, was born blind – but that doesn’t diminish his playful and curious nature!

Nicky sleeps safe and sound each night under his blanket.

While on safari in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya we spent an incredible couple of hours with Nicky. The young black rhino was asleep under a blanket when we first arrived, but he soon woke up and greeted us enthusiastically.

And even at his tender age, an enthusiastic rhino is not one you want to turn your back on. With so many sad stories about rhinos – including the recent tragedy at Lewa, where four black rhinos were killed in a matter of days by poachers – it was heart-warming to meet Nicky and know that he is being cared for so well.

The team at Lewa hope to fly in a specialist to perform a high-tech surgical procedure to fix Nicky’s eyesight early next year. We instantly fell in love with this brave little creature and we’re sure he will capture your hearts as well.

The bond between Nicky and his two minders is very strong.


All about Nicky…

1.     Nicky was named by a generous sponsor.

2.     His birthday is (approximately) 25 August 2012, making him four months old this Christmas.

3.     He has lived at the home of Mike Watson (Lewa’s CEO) and his family since he was one month old. He has his own enclosure, with thickly padded walls so he can play all day, and a smaller room for sleeping.

4.     He really doesn’t like the rain.

5.     His best friend is a yellow labrador, one of the Watson’s family dogs – although Nicky is beginning to outgrow his companion.

6.     His blindness is most likely caused by congenital cataracts. This is not an irreversible condition, which is why Lewa staff are hopeful that his surgery will be successful.

7.     It is too risky to keep him with his mother, as there is a high potential that he will get lost and wander into danger. At this young age he is vulnerable to attacks from lions in particular, but could also injure himself if he accidentally steps into a burrow or slips in the mud.

8.     He has two experienced minders, Yusuf and Tonga, and is cared for around-the-clock. One of the things they are currently spending time doing is showing him the kind of leaves he should be eating.

9.    His daily routine includes eating, playing, lots of running around and afternoon mud baths. He likes to sleep through the night, but if he gets hungry, cold or scared he wakes his minder by squealing, jumping on him and generally throwing a bit of a fuss. The same thing happens if his blanket falls off during the night.

10.  It costs Lewa an average of $1,265 per month to pay for Nicky’s day-to-day care, veterinary costs and salaries for his keepers. Looking after a baby rhino is not cheap but saving one is priceless.

A last word from Lewa….”During this sad time Nicky serves as a happy reminder of why we must continue to do everything we can to protect these magnificent animals. Lewa would like to send a big Thank You to everyone for the outpouring of support for Nicky so far. While we cannot know what his future holds, we do know that the Lewa teams will do everything possible to ensure he lives a happy and healthy rhino life.”

Please help support Nicky and share in the hope for his species that this blind baby rhino stands for.

For more information about Nicky and Lewa’s Rhino Conservation Program go to:

To help raise funds Lewa has launched a CrowdRise campaign for Nicky and the other rhinos on the conservancy:

It’s never easy to get out of bed but a day of play and mud baths awaits.


Kate got pushed over a few times when Nicky’s enthusiasm got the better of him – and her.


Marcus is introduced to Nicky – the tripod safely stowed away on the wall. Removing any potential obstacles unknown to Nicky seemed like a good idea.


It might be time to get up, but this feels like a staying-in-bed day…


blind rhino
Nicky takes a short breather from running around his enclosure in the early morning.


Nicky and his minder go off in search of food.

Marcus and Kate were hosted by Lewa House:

Africa Geographic Travel
Marcus & Kate

Marcus and Kate are a freelance writer/photographer team, contributing stories on travel, conservation and human interest from across east and southern Africa. They just completed a year in Kenya's Masai Mara where they conducted a research project on wildlife tourism and community-based conservation, including working on projects such as Elephant Voices and Living with Lions. They are a Swedish-Australian couple with itchy feet and a love for Africa, adventure and discovery. To see more photos from Marcus and Kate, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.