This World Rhino Day (22 September 2018), Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary (CFW) will celebrate the day by honouring seven baby rhino who arrived at the sanctuary in 2015, orphaned, hurt and in need of healing, love, and care. Now, those baby rhino have grown up and have become a part of a special, new family, and Konica Minolta South Africa (KMSA), a division of Bidvest Office (Pty) Ltd, is honoured to have been a part of their journey to recovery and new-found freedom.
The sanctuary rescues abandoned, injured and orphaned infant rhino, providing the facilities and necessary expertise to stabilise and rehabilitate these animals so that they might later be released back into the wild.
In January 2018, Minister Edna Molewa revealed that there had been a minor decrease in the number of rhino poached nationally in 2017. A total of 1 028 rhino were poached from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017 compared to 1 054 in the same period for 2016, representing a decrease of 26 animals.1 These statistics reflect a small victory, but the reality is, the fight is far from over . . .
Three years ago, Konica Minolta South Africa acknowledged this reality and partnered with CFW, to assist in a sustainable way to save rhino. In 2015, the company adopted seven orphaned baby rhino: Annie, River, Tyson, Venus, Meha, Tank and Satara, who were lovingly named the ‘Magnificent Seven’. The company covered all maintenance costs relating to food, shelter, and medication for the seven rhino. The ‘Magnificent Seven’ have since been released into the ‘wild’ and are enjoying their new home.
“Their ‘wild’ is the reserve that surrounds the orphanage. The reserve is an Intensive Protection Zone, which means it is a natural, wild area that is protected and secure, so that the rhino can roam freely in the 350ha area,” explains Dorota Ladosz, from CFW. According to the CFW prospectus, the orphanage was initially established on a 350ha property. It is currently expanding to a 4,500ha area, where no harm can come to the rhino that CFW have rescued, rehabilitated and released. “Rhino that have been released no longer return to the enclosures nor sleep in the boma (a large enclosure surrounded by poles and fences) on the sanctuary grounds. Instead, they now live in the bush, doing whatever they want, whenever they want,” she says.
Konica Minolta South Africa donates in excess of R1 million to the sanctuary annually, which helps tremendously in taking care of the rhino. According to CFW, the cost for care and food for one single rhino is estimated at almost R20,000 a month.
“When the rhino arrive at the sanctuary, they are scared and alone, so it is heart-warming to watch them grow into happy, healthy and loving animals. The ‘Magnificent Seven’ are part of the Konica Minolta family and we are inspired by their ability to fight to live, with the odds against them, and we are filled with joy to celebrate their progress,” says Ritchi Smith, national marketing co-ordinator, Konica Minolta South Africa.
On World Rhino Day, 22 September 2018, CFW will be hosting a group of young children to teach them all about the rhino and how important they are. “We are focusing on youth awareness and education. Not only will we be introducing the children to the KMSA’s famous ‘Magnificent Seven’, but to the other baby rhino as well,” says Ladosz. “We hope that one day we can grow to a Magnificent 70, a Magnificent 700 and even a Magnificent 7,000, for our future generations. Where better to begin than with the children – as we all know, they are the future!”.
“The partnership speaks to our belief that positive results come about when proudly South African corporations, conservationists, educators and citizens come together to create communities that are passionate about the wellbeing of our wildlife,” concludes Smith.
For more information about the sanctuary, its activities and how to donate, visit http://careforwild.co.za/