The price of rhinoceros horns has now reached a worryingly historic level, since overtaking the price of gold. The demand on the Asian market, mainly in China and Vietnam, is now out of control. Unfortunately, we now believe that the horn, made from the same material as finger nails, has powerful remedial properties. The massacre continues at a terrifying rate with one rhino being killed every 6 hours, despite the fact that South Africa has declared war against the poachers.
The Thula-Thula sanctuary, situated in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, took in two baby or-phaned rhinos in 2009; Thabo (4months) and Ntombi (8months). They were hand-reared until the age of 18months. They were then released into the sanctuary under the heavy surveillance of armed guards who watched over them day and night. In October 2013, in order to better protect them, their horns were injected with poison. Thanks to the partnership with the Austrian animal protection organisations ("Four Paws" and "Fundmivelo Community Trust") the Thula-Thula rhino orphanage gives refuge to baby rhinos having lost their mothers to poaching.
The orphanage includes: the main house, which welcomes vets, volunteers and security guards, an office and a meeting room for the local Zulu leaders. A private hospital has been completely equipped to save up to 10 injured and orphaned rhinos. 3 ‘bomas’ (rehabilitation enclosures) complete the complex where the orphans are able to go for a walk in complete safety. The rhinos are filmed by webcams so guests staying in the lodges or camping in tents can observe the animals without disturbing them.
Only two hours north of Durban, the Thula-Thula sanctuary is a true haven for the South Af-rican wildlife: elephants, rhinos, hippos, buffalos, leopards, unusual birds.
The sanctuary offers a diverse range of accommodation from ‘the elephant safari lodge’ to the ‘luxury camping tents’ which offer an authentic experience of the African outback in the heart of the Zulu land. Everyone who stays at Thula-Thula directly contributes to the wildlife and nature conservation project.
__Gaëtan Petit Rhino Handler - Thula Thula Orphanage Manager__