Kariega Rhino and Young
Kariega Rhino Calf

Kariega Foundation Logo

Save the Rhino

In the five years between 2010 and 2015 there have been over 3500 rhinos lost to poaching in South Africa alone. Over 80% of the world's surviving rhinos live in South Africa as the populations elsewhere in Africa and Asia have been decimated. In 2016 and 2017 the killing has not slowed and three rhinos are brutally killed by poachers every day.

Unfortunately, Kariega Game Reserve has not escaped this scourge. On the 2 March 2012 one cow and two bull rhino's were poached at Kariega. Tragically, one bull was fatally wounded and died during the course of the night, whilst the remaining two were severely injured, but showed an incredible will to survive. For 24 days wildlife veterinary expert, Doctor William Fowlds, worked tirelessly with the Kariega team to give these survivors the best possible care and chance for recovery. Their bravery was unbelievable and inspired our rangers to nickname them Thandi and Themba, two isiXhosa names meaning courage (or to be loved) and hope. Sadly Themba (Hope) suffered a leg injury on the night he was poached and as a result of infection passed away on the morning of the 26 of March 2012. 

Thandi continues to amaze us with her incredible fighting strength and miraculous recovery. She became the first rhino to ever survive a poaching attack. Her story spread around the world and has inspired many people to get involved in rhino conservation. 

Thandi endured numerous operations since her attack, including pioneering skin graft surgery under the care of Dr William Fowlds. In December 2013 blood tests after her last facial procedure revealed that she was pregnant. After waiting for many months, we were overjoyed that she gave birth to a female calf on 13 January 2015. We called the calf Thembi, meaning hope in isiXhosa.

“The name Thembi seemed to fit best given that this little calf has brought fresh hope and energy to those who struggle to secure the future of our rhino. She is a new generation of life, one I hope will never experience a poaching incident like her mother and namesake Themba,” commented Dr William Fowlds when she was named.

Thandi surprised us again in January 2017 when she gave birth to another calf. The male rhino calf was born on 24 January 2017 and named Colin in memory of the visionary and founder of Kariega, Colin Rushmere. He passed just days before the rhino was born.

Read updates on Thandi and her beautiful family.

Caring for our Rhino

White rhino with horn brutally removed by poachersAfter Thandi and Themba were poached, Kariega was flooded with requests to contribute to the medical care of these two survivors. In response to this overwhelming support the Kariega Foundation created a special fund dedicated to the rehabilitation and care of our rhino.

White rhino Thandi with horn removed by poachersSince then we have been blessed with incredible support from so many amazing people. Our thanks to every single person or organisation for their support and generosity to the Foundation. From everyone at Kariega, especially our rhino, THANK YOU TO ALL INVOLVED.

Most of our efforts are now geared towards anti poaching on the reserve and trying as best we can to continue protecting our rhino. The following is the type of funding ideally required at Kariega (with the estimated type of costs involved). Although we would love to, we are not necessarily able to do all the listed measures as like everything, what we are able to do depends on the availability of funds (both ours and outside support). However we are committed and determined to persevere in doing what we can.

  • Rehabilitation (if possible) of a surviving poached rhino (approximately R40 000-R150 000) 
  • Dehorning of rhino - ideally at least once per year (between R6 000-R10 000 per rhino - depending on number of animals per dehorning)
  • Fitting of transmitter devices (assists greatly with effective monitoring) including helicopter, veterinary drugs and bracelet transmitter (approximately R8 000-R10 000 per rhino)
  • Eastern Cape Helicopter support program (R400 per hour of flying)
  • Security personnel in addition to normal reserve staff (as much as funds allow)
  • Dedicated anti poaching vehicle (Approximately R6 000 per month cost and running costs)
  • Bullet proof vests (R4 000)
  • Uniforms (approximately R2 500 per person)
  • Handheld radios (R2 200 each)
  • Night vision binoculars (R17 000)
  • Normal binoculars (R2 000)
  • Flir thermal imagery vehicle Pathfinder camera (R36 000)
  • Flir handheld thermal imaging camera (R68 000)
  • Spotlight (R1 500)
  • Telonics telemetry receiver (R7 000)
  • Telonics telemetry aerial (R1 200)
  • Telonics horn implant device (R2 750)
  • We also then sometimes think and dream of the real big one – more rhino!

The story of Thandi and Themba is part of the much broader issue of rhino poaching – an issue which we cannot fight alone. Kariega actively supports the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative of the Wilderness Foundation and the Rhino Project of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Both are incredible organisations which have our full trust and support in all their commendable endeavors toward saving the rhino.

How can you Help?

If you wish to contribute to our efforts in caring for Thandi and protecting our rhino and other rhino generally, you can make a contribution in one of the following ways. Any size donation will help, and is hugely appreciated!

1. Direct deposit/EFT to the Kariega Foundation bank account:

First National Bank
Account no: 62275606526
Branch:Newton Park
Branch code: 261050
Reference: Save the Rhino

2. Download and complete the credit card authorization form and email to murray@kariega.co.za OR fax to +27 41 581 2601.

If you have any enquiries, questions or comments, please feel free to email murray@kariega.co.za.

Thandi's Story: Help Save our Rhino
Thandi Calf Jan2015 Gary Van Wyk1000

Help Save Our Rhino Project

How can you help? 

If you wish to contribute to our efforts in caring for Thandi and protecting our rhino and other rhino generally, you can make a contribution in one of the following ways. Any size donation will help, and is hugely appreciated!


First National Bank 
Account no: 62275606526
Branch:Newton Park
Branch code: 261050

Video: Rhino Horn is not Medicine
Rhino Close Up Horn Kariega Game Reserve Peter Mills
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