Other thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/5ggbfi/on_thursday_we_rescued_an_orphaned_baby_rhino/

Please visit our website at: http://careforwild.co.za/

To donate: http://YouCaring.com/Rhino or http://careforwild.co.za/donate/

For larger donations that can go through a registered 501(c)(3) charity please PM /u/Bafana_Bafana

To Volunteer: http://workingwithrhinos.org

Proof: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcareforwild%2Fposts%2F914015635400033

/u/crossborderman will be answering questions as well as she also works at the sanctuary!

Comments: 882 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

LegitCyborg680 karma

Have you every had a dangerous encounter with a poacher? How did it end?

Bafana_Bafana2021 karma

Yes! We had one of our rhinos, Sabie, poached some years ago. It didn't take our intelligence team long to work out who was responsible.

The culprits were arrested, and when in court, one threatened to break out and kill the police officer, the judge, and one of our members. In that order!

He did break out that day, and went on to shoot said police officer. He emptied an entire magazine into him. Thankfully our contacts within our special investigating unit were able to recapture him, and he is now behind bars!

hoverage1103 karma

Holy shit

qwerty-confirmed502 karma

Hope that guy stays behind bars for the rest of his life.

Bafana_Bafana626 karma

We hope so too!

Ki11erPancakes137 karma

I hope it's not a bad question to ask, you said he shot the police officer: is he okay?

Bafana_Bafana269 karma

No. Unfortunately he was killed..

gnarledout135 karma

Damn that is really sad. Even after those threats they didn't figure he would make an escape attempt? Was he not in handcuffs and sent somewhere behind bars after the guilty ruling? How the heck could he escape and go on to kill that officer all in the same day?

Bafana_Bafana226 karma

He broke out of the vehicle in transit, and then killed the police office that evening in his house..

ArseKraken317 karma

How's the cute baby unihorn doing?

Bafana_Bafana446 karma

She's doing really well right now! She's in better condition than the other 3 we received last week.

The drought in SA has really caused a lot of issues. Their mother's milk isn't very nutritious and they're rather malnourished. This girl on the other hand is in an otherwise great condition (apart from the gun shot wound). It's an absolute miracle that she was able to survive so long without milk. Normally they don't survive for more than a couple of days before the hyenas and lions tend to get them!

MischiefDame309 karma

First off, thank you for what you do and dedicate your time to. I am not sure if you are familiar with dyeing rhino horns but, does dyeing the ivory of rhinos act as a deterrent?

Crossborderman601 karma

Hi there, thanks for asking this question! So it's time to put these rumors to bed, once and for all. The images that i'm guessing you are referring to were photoshopped (a picture of an elephant and rhino with pink tusks and horns). These images have been doing the rounds on social media for quite sometime with the accompanying note, "pink dye is applied to their horns/tusks to waive off poachers." The pink dye is actually designed to affect - mostly - the inside of the horn, not the exterior. So the colours on the outside are NO WHERE near as bright as in the pictures. This subtle pink dye actually has a few uses. Airport scanners are able to pick it up (even if it's ground up into a powder). The pink dye is also mixed with parasiticides, which is mostly used to kill ticks. However, if a person does ingest the ground powder with poison there are the side effects of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. More research is being done on this unique horn devaluation technique. - Morgan (Care for Wild Africa - World's Largest Rhino Orphanage)

Bafana_Bafana366 karma

Hi All, I'd just like to let you know that /u/crossborderman works at the sanctuary with me and will be answering questions as well!

Victor4X257 karma

How often does this happen?

Bafana_Bafana552 karma

At the moment, the official statistic is 3 rhinos per day that are poached in South Africa. I tend to believe the number is actually higher.

Most babies do not survive! They are either killed by the poachers, or by the lions and hyenas.

-Dynamic-194 karma

What are your opinions on legalizing horn trade? I spend a lot of time with my dad who is also a conservationist in southern Africa, and he believes that legalize s the horn trade, humanly framing horn, and flooding the market is the easiest way to stop rhinos being killed. Do you agree or disagree, and why so?

Bafana_Bafana338 karma

I can only speak of my own personal opinion but I agree however, as a sanctuary we are neutral on this topic. Our goal is purely to look after the orphaned rhinos, and not to get into that sort of debate taking one side or another!

I do believe that when you look at the main reasons for rhino poaching it isn't the medicinal reasoning that the western media have made it out to be. It has become a status symbol much like shark fin soup. The more rare it gets, the more valuable it becomes, and people are buying it as an investment. If you were to flood the market with horn, much of this is eliminated..

WhatTheSneakers191 karma

How did you get into saving rhinos?

Bafana_Bafana283 karma

Just wanting to make a difference.. If you are willing to find a way, you will!

_CHM_187 karma

How do I volunteer? I'm a 20 year old Indian studying engineering and would love to spend 2 or 3 weeks of my vacation by volunteering.

Bafana_Bafana209 karma


Thank would be great as we can really use the helping hands, and the funds raised from volunteering really goes a long way in keeping the sanctuary running.

Please visit: workingwithrhinos.org for more information!

wiifan55177 karma

Why did they shoot the calf? Was it out of pure disregard for the animal or could the calf still pose a risk to them? The mom was clearly the target, right?

Thanks for the work you all are doing!

Bafana_Bafana249 karma

The calf still has a horn. Even though it's so small, it's still worth a lot of money! Over and above that, a baby rhino that is seen is a give-away that the mom is likely poached. This will start the search for the carcass, and ultimately the poachers. Extra money and no evidence!

igotapicklehey109 karma

Hey OP, send proof to the mods to get verified. You will get more donations when people know you are legit!

ShlubbyWhyYouDan95 karma

So... Two questions.

One, have you ever had an aggressive encounter with a poacher?

Secondly, I dont wanna sound gun toting, but are you allowed to use deadly force against poachers, and if so what are the rules of engagement?

Bafana_Bafana174 karma

I've answered the first question to someone else, so I'll just jump ahead to the second one..

The rules are simple.. You cannot shoot unless first fired upon! Unfortunately the poachers aren't bound by the same rules..

forfal89 karma

What are the challenge to feed your Rhino ? Which kind of food do they eat !

How it is for the volunteer ? Do they need to pay for their food/housing etc, or it's part of their volunterring ?

At which age the baby rhino are re-introduce into the wild ? Do the process go well ?

Lastly, what do you think of synthetic rhino horn ?

Bafana_Bafana110 karma

We feed them milk until they're fully weaned at roughly 14-16 months of age. They're also eating teff and lucerne (different grasses) on a daily basis.

Once weaned they get very little human interaction and are released into the large stronghold where they are closely followed and monitored by highly trained guards.

As for the volunteering, yes.. check out http://workingwithrhinos.org/

The costs include meals, accommodation, airport transfers, support, etc.. They're really good and the money raised plays a big role in funding the sanctuary!

IsSnooAnAnimal19 karma

What about the last 2 questions?

Bafana_Bafana19 karma

Oops sorry!

They get released once they're weaned which is at 14-16 months old!

As for the fake horn, to the best of my knowledge this is completely indistinguishable from real rhino horn and is therefore the same thing (how to law officials determine the difference if the poachers can't?).. As a result it is effectively rhino horn, and the trade of rhino horn is illegal. So they can't legally get this stuff into the market.

illradhab14 karma

Are the baby rhinos as sociable as baby elephants seem to be? In terms of being friendly towards their human guardians?

Bafana_Bafana30 karma

Yes, but we tend to group them with other rhinos that are of a similar size, and then leave them to interact among themselves..

If they're very small and require companionship then yes, you sleep with them at night and they'll cuddle right up to you!

Call_me_Tom68 karma

Rhino is fairly broad...are there specific Rhinos you work with?

Bafana_Bafana136 karma

Yes, these are white rhinos, and western black rhinos.. The one in the video is a white rhino. You can tell this by the square-lip and the hump of muscle and fat on the back of her neck that supports the weight of the head as white rhinos are grazers eat with their heads low down on the ground!

GuybrushBeeblebrox58 karma

Hi, and thanks for all your efforts.

My question is: What happens to all the donations from the public and charity organisations? Do you actually see any of it?

Bafana_Bafana115 karma

We work closely with a few organisations that do pass on donations, but we have heard of some organisations raising money on our behalf that we have yet to see a cent of.

Please always do your research to make sure that your doantions are actually going where they're supposed to go. You can donate directly to use through our PayPal at http://careforwild.co.za/donate/

Thanks for your kind words!

Imadethisfoeyourcr33 karma

Can a rhinos horn be removed without killing the rhino? Could efforts be made to protect rhinos by encouraging poachers to sedate and remove horns rather than kill rhinos? Obviously the goal is to have poachers not hurt rhinos or take their horns at all but at the end of the day we want to keep them alive before we want to stop poachers

Bafana_Bafana55 karma


There is a nerve about 3 inches high (imagine a tooth).. Above that and it's just like a fingernail. You can clip it and it doesn't harm them in any way. Unfortunately, those 3 inches are worth a lot of money, so goodluck trying to convince poachers to leave it :(

PodrickTargaryen24 karma

You mention volunteering, but what are the chances of getting a job with this and what kind of professions do you require currently?

Bafana_Bafana34 karma

I guess that depends if you're looking to get into the anti-poaching side, or rehabilitation side of things..

A number of people in the industry started out as volunteers.. Having a qualification in veterinary science, zoology, etc will obviously be a help, but there are other ways to be involved that don't require any qualifications!

jackisasquirrel22 karma

Any chance you need someone to slack off on Reddit all day?

Bafana_Bafana11 karma

How much do you want?

VivaLaVodkaa21 karma

Thanks for your awesome work! I'm wondering why the poachers would have shot the baby rhino? The horn didn't look so big on it, and they didn't even bother actually killing it. Just curious about their possible motives.

Bafana_Bafana31 karma

Well they took a pretty good shot at it! That was a .375 shot, so the intention was definitely to kill it. Unfortunately, most of the time they succeed!

They'll kill it for that little bit of horn, and that the baby can lead anti-poaching units to find and catch the poachers!

expostulo18 karma

What do you think the situation for rhinos will be like in 50 years from now?

Bafana_Bafana57 karma

At this rate, it'll be in the same place in 50 years time as it will be in 10 years time... With no rhinos at all.

the_lost_manc18 karma

I know that I am really moved by such things. And you guys must be seeing this animal abuse everyday. Apart from getting used to it, do you or your team mates break down emotionally every once in a while?

Sorry if it sounds like a stupid question.

Thank you for your amazing work. I would like to donate and help if that is possible. Kindly share any details.

Bafana_Bafana22 karma

Yeah, we've had some rhinos that didn't make it. It really brakes you emotionally..

You're more than welcome to head over to YouCaring.com/Rhino or http://careforwild.co.za/donate/ to donate to us. It really is appreciated.. Thank you!

theblamergamer14 karma

Will you post an update video on the Rhino calf you rescued? She's so cute!

Bafana_Bafana21 karma

Of course we will!!

We have a few dozen orphaned rhinos that all have remarkable stories and have all had their moms killed by poachers.. Some have even more remarkable stories than this latest one!

Bitchnainteasy14 karma

How many animals had your organization saved?

How many are their in your organization?

Also, Do you only rescue rhinos?

Bafana_Bafana24 karma

Not only rhino, no.. We'll rescue any animal!

I can't specify the exact number of rhinos for security reasons, but it's several dozen! We are the largest rhino orphanage in the world now..

Most animals we get in are released back into the wild as soon as possible!

Bafana_Bafana13 karma

Who do I send proof to in order to verify post?

endearing-butthole10 karma

The mods have posted the link in a message above. I am including it here

Mods message

Bafana_Bafana14 karma

Thanks, done!

wastedaccountname213 karma

How does one get into this field? I'm currently a fish and wildlife conservation major in a US university but I'd love to have a career like this in the future.

Bafana_Bafana14 karma

Probably start by either volunteering or by shadowing someone in the field!

wpham713 karma

Do you guys only rescue motherless rhinos? What about fatherless rhinos

Bafana_Bafana38 karma

The fathers are never around when it comes to raising their young!

The calves stay with the cows , and the bulls wonder off to go and make more babies :)

RageRevenge13 karma

I'm reading everything you have written in Terri Irwin's voice, how does this make you feel?

Bafana_Bafana14 karma

Honoured :)

betonthis112 karma

Are dealing with injured baby rhinos dangerous? It's not something we typically see so are they dangerous if they attack out of fear or anger?

Bafana_Bafana32 karma

Yes it can be..

They are immensely strong! I cannot even begin to explain just how strong they are!!!

They don't know people. They don't trust people. Their only prior experience with people is witnessing their moms being killed by people. So the are extremely agitated and stressed when they arrive.. Who can blame them?

It's always important to remember that they are wild animals! They do not get domesticated, and we keep human interaction at an absolute minimum. We feed, and then we get out. It's important that the rhinos get raised by other rhinos, and not by people!

Srimnac12 karma

What does the healing process look like? How long until she can be released back into the wild?

Bafana_Bafana17 karma

Well her prognosis seems good for now!

She's about 10 months old already and will be fully weaned off her milk at 14-16 month of age. Then she can be moved into the large stronghold which with mean roaming around freely being a rhino! :)


How did you spot the baby rhino? I can't imagine it's easy to spot from high up in a helicopter. Are there any techniques for scanning the land below, or did you have an idea of where to look?

Bafana_Bafana25 karma

We had an idea of where she was.. There were some tracks (but most were ruined by the rains) that we were following and generally, they don't venture too far away from their mom's carcass.

In saying that, it still took 8 days to find her using drones, helicopters, planes, microlights, and tracking on foot.. It really isn't easy to find them. It's like finding a needle in a haystack.

Fashish9 karma

Who's the main consumer market for these poachers? And would you say their numbers are dwindling now that more people are aware?

Bafana_Bafana16 karma

No, as long as the supply of horn dwindles (as fewer rhinos are alive), so the value of the horn will go up. Supply and demand. The more valuable the horns are, the more money there is for poachers..

neurolux8 karma

Can I be a Poacher Assassin? I promise to bury the poacher bodies deep.

Bafana_Bafana4 karma

You have my unofficial blessing.. Shhh!

ThatTakesTheBiscuit8 karma

What do you believe should be done to make rhino horns (keratin) and on a broader scale animal product (ivory, skin etc.) "un-cool" to have? Some of the problem seems to be a demand-side thinking of these products as a status symbol, also because of its rarity. The more rare (i.e. more endangered) these products become, the more wanted they become for some. What would help?

Bafana_Bafana16 karma

In my personal opinion, flooding the market. Supply and demand. It's not worth very much if it's readily available.. Unlike ivory, rhino horn regrows and the animal doesn't need to be killed in order to get it..

LooseyZeusy7 karma

Hi, thanks for all the work that you do!

In the other thread you said that there are five levels of poachers, and that usually the most impoverished people do the actual dirty work. How much of a cut do those people end up getting? How would we/you go about creating jobs that would pay them more?

Bafana_Bafana9 karma

Poachers are earning about R50 000 per horn so in South Africa that's a lot of money! They generally give around R10 000 of that to their witch doctor to bless them.

Unemployment in SA is at 27% and minimum wage is roughly R3500 per month (USD $250), so getting these people to earn that kind of money is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

HadMyWayWithHaddaway6 karma

How did this become a career for you? Did you begin volunteering or was it based off a degree? I'm very interested in working with an anti-poaching team and would love to know

Bafana_Bafana8 karma

I began volunteering and it just went from there.. Anti-poaching isn't likely to be something that you can volunteer in tho!

CrackingFingers5 karma

Who do you blame more; the wealthy consumers who wants "real" animal products or the men who kill these animals to make a living in the hopes?

Bafana_Bafana15 karma

Supply and demand. Rhino is horn is keratin. The same as our hair and nails.. It's effectively worthless.

I suppose it's only worth what people are prepared to pay for it. So the consumers being prepared to pay a lot of money for it means that there's money for poachers to go out there and kill them. Without the wealthy consumers, there will be no poaching!

Hawkeyedreindeer5 karma

I'd like to help volunteer over the summer so I'm not missing class during the semester. Do you have a lot of people trying to volunteer during that time and is it difficult to get chosen if you don't have any experience besides your environmental biology classes?

Bafana_Bafana14 karma

Volunteers aren't chosen based on any particular skill set.. You don't need any qualifications to come volunteer with us. Just as long as you aren't a rhino poacher, you qualify.

We are generally very busy in the American summer, but there is definitely still availability so long in advance.

Email the guys at http://workingwithrhinos.org/ and they'll sort you out!

qwerty-confirmed4 karma

Thanks for doing such an amazing job!

For how long does the orphaned rhinos normally stay with people before released?

Bafana_Bafana8 karma

They get weaned at 14-16 months old, and then they no longer require human interaction (barring any medical requirements) so they can move into the open areas and just be rhinos..

TheAtomicMarshmallow3 karma

Hey, i also have a question. I can't really afford the prices for volunteering, however i'd be really interested in doing this or something similar.

Are there any other organizations you know where you get meals etc for free? I'm aware that you can't just feed a lot of people for free and you guys probably don't have a ton of funds either, but i was thinking more along the lines of actual (short-term) work. I'm not afraid to work hard and uninterested in the touristy side of things.

Thanks for reading :)

Edit : just to clarify, im not expecting payment.

Bafana_Bafana6 karma

Unfortunately I don't :(

But that doesn't mean that there aren't!! Look up as many paces as you can find and start emailing away! If you're determined, you'll find what you're looking for eventually!

uberi3 karma

How many hoops and loops does the typical western person have to jump through in order to work out in the boonies of Africa and do this?

As someone who has always wanted to, is it a hard thing to do? How many years does it take to get into?

Bafana_Bafana5 karma

You've just gotta put yourself out there! If you start contacting organisations (I'm not sure if you're interested in rehabilitation or counter-poaching) but eventually you'll get in!!

Devilishlygood983 karma

Whos your favorite rhino?

Bafana_Bafana7 karma

Probably Manji. When he came in he was absolutely tiny (about 50kgs) and had severe machete cuts on his face from the poachers.

He's overcome all that and has turned out to be a remarkable rhino!


Hi, and thanks for the AMA! I will be going to kruger national park and was wondering if there are any tours or tour companies that support the rhinos and other wildlife in a special way? What is the best way to take a tour from your experience?

Bafana_Bafana4 karma

Yes, Nhongo Safaris!!

What time of the year are you going, and where will you be staying?

pupofwallstreet3 karma

Are most poachers locals hired by others who are in need of money or are they the actual buyers out for a thrill chase? If they are locals, would educating them about the depleting resource help?

(I ask because in Fiji local fishermen were being paid lots of money to illegally kill sharks for shark fin soup, and the Fiji government launched a PSA outlining how Fiji's tourism depends on having a vast variety of sharks and killing them for a few extra $$ is more harm than good)

Bafana_Bafana3 karma

These poachers that go out and kill the rhinos are being hired by syndicates.. The guys hiring them are making a fortune out of it.

Usurpgnome1 karma

What do you feed the baby rhinos? Cow's milk? Goat's milk? Special rhino baby formula? Do you have rhino wet nurses?

Bafana_Bafana4 karma

It's powdered milk that comes from horses as they are their closest genetic relatives. That gets mixed with the relevant vitamins, minerals, medications, etc.

We tailor their milk formulas based on their individual dietary needs.

The_Fluffy_Walrus1 karma

Thank you guys for your efforts! I'm 15 and when I get older I would love to work in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. What does someone like me, a teenager from the United States, need to do in order to get involved in organizations like this? What kind of training would I need?

Bafana_Bafana2 karma

It's much easier if you have a qualification in veterinary science, biology, or zoology, but if you're prepared to do whatever it takes to get involved, then you can!

All the best!!

undercurrents1 karma

Did you see this recent article in National Geographic: Special Investigation: Inside the Deadly Rhino Horn Trade?

Bafana_Bafana2 karma

I haven't seen this, no! Thanks for pointing it out to me :)

sryguys1 karma

Have you heard of SA World Vets? I'm going to South Africa next April through their organization and was wondering if you were familiar with them.

What's the strangest case you have seen since you started working with the rhinos?

Bafana_Bafana2 karma

Nope, unfortunately i haven't..

If I'm honest, probably this one. I did not believe that this rhino could possible survive that long without milk. Not least because it had a severe gun shot wound.. We searched everywhere with drones, helicopters, microlights, planes, etc. etc. Nothing! I thought she was gone, but out of the blue we found her!!

orcazebra1 karma

How do veterinarians get involved in your organization? Are they volunteers or do you have a veterinary staff? Are there opportunities for veterinary students?

Bafana_Bafana3 karma

We work closely with several vets and they're unbelievably helpful. Often they have interns with them. In saying that, many of the people who volunteer with us are veterinary students, and it' always a good way to learn!

Diggoobuoxum1 karma

Are you going to eat them?

Bafana_Bafana4 karma

They're not kosher.

Benjbear1 karma

What is something that other organizations similar to yours do that you dislike/disagree with? If I want to go volunteer somewhere, are there any red flags that you can think of? I'm nearing the end of high school and I really want to get out there and help on some sanctuaries, particularly with large animals such as rhinos and elephants. It's hard to know what places to trust!

Thank you so much, what you're doing truly inspires me. I hope that someday I can inspire others too :)

Bafana_Bafana2 karma

Thank you for your kind words :)

We'd love to have you at the sanctuary..

I think look out for any sanctuary that has a constant flow of lion cubs.. That's seldom a good thing :/