Wyntir arrived at the sanctuary at two months of age weak, vulnerable and heartbroken. She weighed just 107kg. Three years later she is a strong, confident, happy girl weighing in at a hefty 780KGS!
It has been an absolute privilege for everyone to witness Wyntir’s progress. To see her walk freely and with confidence in the Intensive Protection Zone proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the work Petronel Nieuwoudt and her team are doing is vital to the survival of these remarkable animals.
When she was found she had been alone for several days without her mother and being so young; she had no idea at all how to care for herself and as is the rule of nature she was easy prey. At some point a cackle of hyenas found her, and during their attack, both ears were chewed off.
On her arrival to the sanctuary, Dr Ferreira du Plessis attended to her. There were gaping holes on the side of her head where her ears should be, and there was a very real chance of serious infection because insect larvae had made her wounds their home.
Day after day he cleaned and treated her physical wounds while Petronel cared for the emotional ones. Emma a 6-month-old hippo who was also a rescue played her part in Wyntirs recovery by making friends.
Each night a member of the team slept in Wyntir’s night pen offering her the love and comfort she needed to put her on the road to recovery. Within a few weeks, her physical wounds were looking much better, and to everyone’s surprise, she had learned to close her ear canals to stop bugs and any other irritants from entering.
When the team were satisfied that Wyntir’s wounds had healed enough, they introduced her to another young orphaned rhino by the name of Tana. Tana was just three months older than Wyntir, and they bonded at once. A few months later, another orphaned rhino joined the two; his name was Mabush.
Since those early days, the trio has been inseparable, they have provided each other with emotional support, and so the bond they share is strong. They are, Family.
Wyntir’s hearing is quite poor, but she can hear well enough to survive out in the wild. She has learned to read Tana and Mabush’s body language well enough to know if something is approaching, so in a sense, they are now her ears. The close relationship that these rhino have is so very important as when they reach sexual maturity they will breed with minimal stress.
Despite Wyntir having a rough start, she has matured into a strong and powerful leader among the orphaned rhinos.
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