Monitoring coughing Baby Rhino at Zululand

A few months ago, Zululand’s lead rhino tracker Zama, reported the coughing sound of the 4 month old rhino to a vet, who said that it should be fine as long as it had no nasal discharge and was not coughing repeatedly.

So, to assess it’s cough and condition, Zama and Dr Simon went tracking the baby black rhino.

black rhino tracking at Zululand
Black rhino mother & calf

Fortunately, its mother had a horn transmitter fitted to her through the Wildlands Conservation Trust’s Rhino Conservation Project last year.

The transmitter enabled Zama and Simon to find the mother easily and to approach them without disturbing them. Since the summer rains have come the grass is really high, making a visual of the mother and small calf very difficult. After an hour walk, Zama and Simon could tell they were close by the transmitter signal, but it was the first and only cough of the young rhino which alerted them to the exact position of the pair in the long grass. Climbing a nearby Marula tree, they were able to spot the back of the mother and finally just the ears of the calf.

wildlife conservation volunteer
black rhino mother & calf moving on

After waiting to see if they would move, so that the condition of the mother and calf could be assessed, Zama broke a few branches to get the mother and calf up. The mother stood up and faced the direction of the tree, unsure as to what was there. After a while the calf stood up and they were not only able to see that the calf was in good condition and that it had no nasal discharge, but they were also able to sex the calf for the first time – a much needed female addition to the population!

After about 15 minutes the mother decided it was time to move off and trotted off into the bush with her little one happily in tow.

During the 30 or so minutes that Zama and Dr Simon were with the pair, the calf only coughed once – we are hopeful that the calf will be fine, but we will continue to monitor its condition.

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And to help in person, there’s plenty more information and ways to help on the Zululand Wildlife Conservation project.

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A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over 15 years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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