Rietvlei Nature Reserve discovers a newborn rhino calf

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South Africa’s largest urban nature reserve, the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, discovered a new born rhino calf this past week. The reserve says this discovery reflects the success of their Rhino Conservation Programme, which dates back to the 80s.

The reserve is ecstatic over its new discovery:

“Rhinos are endangered in South Africa because of obviously poaching. So it’s very good that they are breeding. You know rhinos breed every three years. The mother would have a calf maybe every three years and then she’ll chase the old baby away, then she’ll have a new baby so they don’t breed like every year. So it takes long for them to have calves, so it’s very important,” says Conservationist, Jeanri Weidenman.

The calf’s gender is yet to be determined as its mother is still overprotective.

“As soon as that mother is not overprotective anymore, she will come out with that calf into the areas. But people are really driving into Rietvlei, seeing all the different rhinos and the species that we’ve got here,” says Environment and Agriculture MMC, Dana Wanenburg.

Despite interruptions by COVID-19 in 2020, 394 rhinos were still poached. This is, however, a sharp decline in poaching – the lowest in 10 years, according to the Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries’ 2020 Rhino Poaching Report.

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve only had one encounter with poachers back in 2018. As a precautionary measure, they dehorn their rhinos.

“We haven’t had any incident in the past two years with poaching. We’ve been very lucky. We’ve been dehorning the rhinos and we’ve been upping our security as well,” explains Weidenman.

Visitor numbers at the reserve remain limited due to COVID-19 regulations.