Original source: bushboundgirl.com
If you watched the last episode (‘The Future’) of BBC’s Africa series, you will remember the moving scene where David Attenborough has a little chat with a blind black rhino calf called Nicky.
While they were out on a routine patrol, two of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy‘s rangers noticed that a young black rhino calf was bumping into things and wandering away from his mother’s path. The rangers expressed their concerns and Lewa’s veterinary team conducted an examination, confirming that the little rhino was blind (most likely the result of congenital cataracts). Lewa decided that leaving him with his mother would be too risky because of the high probability that he would get lost and wander into danger. The Watson family (Mike Watson is Lewa’s Chief Executive Officer) adopted him. They named him Nicky after a generous sponsor who helped to fund some of his day-to-day care.
I emailed the folks at Lewa, which is in Laikipia, Kenya, to find out how Nicky is doing. This is what they had to say…
“He is now 16 months old, thriving in the hands of his care-takers, Yusuf and Tonga. He now weighs between 300 – 350 kgs. Nicky has been blinded by cataracts since birth and earlier this year vets carried out an ultrasound to establish whether the condition could be corrected. Sadly, the results were not what we had hoped for – the ultrasound results showed that surgery would not help him gain sight.
Luckily, young Nicky has the company of two other baby rhinos that are being hand reared alongside him. He is great friends and a big brother to 10 month old Hope and Kilifi, who is the youngest of the trio at 5 months. The three male rhinos are now popularly known as the three musketeers, always trailing each other, feeding, playing and even rolling in the mud together!”
What started out in the 1980s as a 5 000 acre rhino sanctuary on the Craig family cattle ranch has now become one of Kenya’s most successful private wildlife conservancies and a model for community based conservation worldwide. Nicky, Hope and Kilifi are acting as ambassadors for their species and are helping raise funds for rhino conservation via a CrowdRise campaign. Last year, Nicky’s campaign raised $50 000! Lewa is very grateful for the generous contributions (raising a baby rhino is not cheap!)
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. On top of that, it costs more than $10 000 to protect each individual rhino at Lewa every year so each and every contribution is greatly appreciated.