Save Elvis the Rhino and His Black Rhino Friends from Extinction
Elvis is a critically endangered black rhino, roaming the plains of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. He is also a rare story of humans successfully hand raising a threatened mega herbivore, and later releasing the animal back into the wild.
Elvis was born in 2005 to a blind mother named Mawingu. As a result of her blindness, Mawingu lost many of her calves (before having Elvis) to predators. The Lewa team made a tough decision to hand-raise Mawingu’s calves to ensure their survival—with approximately 5,500 individuals left in the world, every black rhino is vital to saving this species from extinction.
Elvis’ keepers nurtured him from when he was just a few weeks old.
“It is no easy task, caring for baby rhinos. Rhinos are large and imposing, but surprisingly delicate and complex animals,” says Kamara, one of Elvis’ keepers.
Kamara and three others cared for Elvis 24/7, taking turns to ensure he received the nutrients he needed to grow, as well as teaching him how to fend for himself in the wild. When he turned four, they slowly started to ‘deny’ him access to his boma (shelter) to encourage him to roam on his own and interact with other rhinos in the wild.
Elvis’ reintroduction into the wild has been a huge success. He has established his own territory and has been spotted with a ‘girlfriend,’—a young adult rhino named Winnie. “We are hoping for an Elvis baby very soon!” says Kamara.
Help save Elvis and his black rhino friends from extinction. These animals are too wonderful and too unique to lose. Click here to donate.
by Daniel Olitzky, April 10, 2017