Those of you who have followed this blog for a while, will know the inspirational story of Hercules, the baby rhino. If you don’t you can catch up on it in the posts Hercules, the 100 kg baby, Hercules and Brutus – an update and What a handsome fellow!
Towards the end of April, I received the following email from Cecile. She is the lady who had helped nurse and nurture Hercules back to health, and raise him to be the fine looking rhino he is today. Although there were veterinary surgeons and others helping in Hercules’ care, from what I can gather Cecile was there for him every day – and gave up many hours of her time to look after him.
A lot has been written about and said regarding the poaching of rhinos for their horns. I think it is going to take the dedication of people like Cecile to save rhinos from extinction. Although I would have loved to have seen Hercules returned to the wild, that just isn’t realistic. Being so used to and trusting of humans, he could either injure somebody or become the victim of a poacher. So living his life on a game farm in semi-captivity seems to be the best alternative. And who knows – maybe Hercules and Peanut will be the start of a new rhino breeding programme? You can read more about existing white rhino breeding programmes in this Wikipedia article.
Here is Cecile’s email . . .
I have just read your story about Hercules on your blog and thought I should give you an update!
I am including 3 pictures. The one [first photograph below] was the day we removed Hercules from the veld to rear him by hand. Hard to believe he was weighing a mere 55 kgs. On 14 April 2012 he was 9 months old. As everyone knows he flourished on love, attention and lots of milk (between 40 and 50 liters a day at present). He is also eating Lucerne. Hercules and Brutus (his sheep buddy) were transferred together to their new and bigger boma on our farm. Because Hercules is getting bigger and heavier, he unfortunately killed Brutus during March. It was a sad day as Brutus really was a sheep with attitude and we really did not think he would survive as long as he did!
Also sending you a photo of Hercules having a mud bath. The other photo is with Peanut his new Rhino mate.
On 11 April we moved Hercules to another farm where he will grow up with another Rhino orphan, Peanut. Peanut is already a year and a half old whereas Hercules will be 10 months old on 14 May. Peanut is a cow and hopefully they will eventually have babies of their own in the distant future. I went to visit Hercules last Sunday and he is a very happy chappy and he will be released in the veld with Peanut next week.
It was absolutely a pleasure and honour to rear Hercules and an experience I never dreamed of going through and all the money in the world cannot buy. Thanks to all the Rhino friends out there!
Sad to read about Brutus’ death. When I wrote the post What a handsome fellow! we did not know what had happened to Brutus and just assumed he had been removed from Hercules’ enclosure.
Less than a year later, this is Hercules now . . .
And in his new home with Peanut (a female rhino) . . .
Thanks to Cecile for the update and the photographs. I am in awe of how you put your own life on hold to raise Hercules!