Kariega South Africa
Gary Van Wyk

In less than five minutes, the video below tells the heartbreaking – and inspiring – story of Themba and Thandi, two rhino in South Africa that were brutally poached and left to die two years ago. One of them did ultimately die, tragically drowning 24 days later because of his weakened state. The other survived…and gave birth last week…bringing another rhino into the world, and adding hope to an industry that had almost lost hope altogether.

Thandi, poached rhino gives birth in South Africa
Photo: Adrian Steirn

The Game Reserve where this beautiful but brutal story took place, announced in a press release today that it is “pleased to share a video of poaching survivor Thandi the rhino and her calf produced by wildlife filmmaker Adrian Steirn. The footage includes the first close-ups of mother and baby shortly after her birth on 13 January. It is our hope that this film will inspire renewed energy in the fight against poaching and spread awareness to ensure the survival of our endangered rhino.”

The video is narrated by Dr William Fowlds of Investec Rhino Lifeline, the vet who has been instrumental in saving and treating Thandi.

Footage shows him breaking down and weeping at the harrowing moment of Themba’s death. “I feel so broken”, he says, and pleads “you need to take the story of Themba and the story of Thandi and you need to tell the world what these animals are going through.”

Fast forward to this year as the camera zooms up on Thandi and her female calf in the safety of the bush Dr Fowlds says “It was just an incredibly amazing feeling to get the news of Thandi’s rhino baby being born.”

Thandi, rhino gives birth in South Africa
Photo: Jacques Matthysen (Kariega game ranger and photographer)

He says “Thandi has been a catalyst for action…I think that the importance of this baby is that it will be a catalyst for hope.”

The birth of Thandi’s baby provides this glimmer of hope amidst the exponential growth in rhino killings. Close to 1200 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa in 2014 – the highest yearly total to date.

Thandi, rhino gives birth in South Africa
Photo: Gary Van Wyk

Graeme Rushmere, co-owner of Kariega says “we are very grateful to Dr Fowlds for his quiet leadership and unfailing commitment to our rhino. He is an inspiration to us all.”

He also thanked photographer Adrien Steirn and fellow contributors for capturing “beautiful footage of Thandi and her baby” and creating “a film which we hope will be shared to inspire change.”

Watch Video – Thandi’s Calf: The Rhino that should never have been Born

See last week’s story about Thandi and her miracle pregnancy.

UPDATE: See MORE PHOTOS OF THANDI’S BABY…as she is named in tribute to the rhino that died.

PLEASE HELP – The rhino is destined to become extinct in our lifetime unless we turn things around fast: South Africa is in the midst of a rhino poaching crisis, caused by a demand in certain Asian countries where rhino horn is coveted as a status symbol, and incorrectly believed to contain medicinal properties.
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