Wyntir was only 2 months old and weighed 107kg when she arrived at Care For Wild Africa on the 20th of June 2014. She was found near Kingfisher Spruit, north of Talamati Bush Camp after her mother had been slaughtered by poachers several days earlier in the Kruger National Park.
She had been lost in the bush without the protection of her mother, which led to her being attacked by a cackle of hyenas. The hyenas completely chewed off both of Wyntir’s ears during the attack, leaving her weak and vulnerable.
When Wyntir arrived at Care For Wild Africa, she was immediately attended to by her own personal veterinarian, Dr Ferreira du Plessis. He attended to the gaping, bleeding holes where her ears were supposed to be. There was an increased danger of infection in her ear canal and possible loss of hearing due to the infection being caused by insect larvae in her wounds.
Dr du Plessis and the staff at Care For Wild Africa cleaned and treated her wounds daily. She also had a dear friend looking after her during her recovery; Emma, a 6-month-old hippo that was also rescued and brought to Care For Wild Africa.
A volunteer was tasked at sleeping in Wyntir’s night pen with her to provide her with love and comfort through the long dark nights. Within a few weeks, Wyntir’s battle wounds were healed and her emotional spirit was healing too. She had also learned to voluntarily close her ear canals to prevent insects and other irritations from entering. A true fighter!
After Wyntir had recovered from her wounds, she was introduced to another young orphaned rhino by the name of Tana. Tana was only 3 months older than Wyntir and they bonded instantly. A few months later, another orphaned rhino joined the two; his name was Mabush.
Since then, the trio have been inseparable. They provide each other with the emotional support they need and their bond is very strong. Although Wyntir’s hearing is very poor, she can hear well enough to survive on her own. Tana and Mabush have, in a way, become her ears. Wyntir has learned to read Tana and Mabush’s body language to understand if there is something approaching that she cannot hear herself.
In this way, the group protects each other. Another importance of the close relationships these rhinos have formed is that when they reach sexual maturity, they will be able to successfully breed with minimized stress.
Wyntir and her friends now enjoy grazing freely in the field during the day, only returning to the safely of their boma in the late afternoon. Wyntir also enjoys taking mud baths with her friends. Her ability to close her ear canal is very useful in this regard because it stops the mud from entering and blocking her ear canal.
The orphans are provided with supplemental feeding and electrolyte-laced water to maintain their healthy condition. Wyntir and her friends are also provided with a cosy night pen filled with comfortable bedding to sleep in. Security guards watch over them like guardian angels all day and all night.
Despite Wyntir having a rough start, she has since grown into a strong and powerful leader among the orphaned rhinos.