Sometimes a story comes along that is very sad but also quite remarkable. Sad, because of what an innocent animal had to endure. But extraordinary because of his bravery. This is the story of Seha, and he is one incredible hero.
Seha’s life started in the way of most baby rhinos. He was born onto a large private game reserve in the North-West Province of South Africa. He stayed by his mother’s side for 3 years, as is the way of baby rhinos. As a young bull rhino, he was ready to leave his mother and find a place of his own. He established a territory and patrolled it. In October 2016, he came across a challenge he had not faced before. A group of poachers, armed with weapons that very few rhinos have faced and survived, began their brutal attack. Seha put up the fight of his life, but it was not enough to stop the poachers from getting what they came for: his magnificent long horns.
They hacked into his head, intent on getting every last piece of horn, so valuable that on the black market it’s called “grey gold.” The poachers ripped the horns out of his head, gouging out his facial bones, exposing his sinuses. Stripped of his identity and dignity, Seha was left lying in a pool of his own blood. The pain must have been intolerable. But this bull was not going to give up so easily. He mustered up the strength to get up onto his feet and was spotted wandering near the boundary fence by police. Luckily, Seha was not destined to die.
The police contacted Saving the Survivors (STS). Dr. Johan Marais, the legendary wildlife veterinarian who founded STS, said: “Bring him in immediately. We are not going to allow this hero to suffer.” STS stepped in and rescued Seha. He was taken to a secure facility where Dr. Marais began his treatments. And Dr. Marais never gives up! Seha (short for Sehawukele, meaning ‘have mercy on us’ in Zulu) began his long journey of treatments and recovery.
Seha is a true survivor and hero and has endured 30 treatments over two years. A treat was waiting for him as soon as he had healed enough: he was safely introduced to two beautiful rhino cows. Much to everyone’s joy, in June 2019, baby Daniel was born from one of the females, Lucky, who is also a survivor of poaching.
Despite having had so many treatments and human interaction, Seha has never lost his wild instincts. He’s charged his caretakers, including STS’s very own Dr. Marais, who narrowly escaped by climbing onto a nearby fence, just in time. Due to the extent of Seha’s injury, as well as his dominant and wild nature, he cannot stay where he is – it is time for him to be released. It is also important for him to be released with at least one rhino female so he can breed and further the genetic diversity of the species.
Through the generosity of Baby Rhino Rescue donors, we raised enough money to purchase two breeding-age females. Baby Rhino Rescue and Saving the Survivors will be partners in owning these exquisite young rhino heifers, called “The Ladies.” One has been named Tshilidzi, which means Grace in Tshivenda, the language of the region. The other has been named Dakalo, which means Joy. We call them Tshilli and Dako for short.
On December 23rd, a dedicated crew tracked Tshili and Dako in a powerful rainstorm and moved them to their new home – a 5,000 hectare area within the Marataba reserve.
Today, January 24th 2022, Seha joined them. He will begin his new life with Grace and Joy at his side. You can help us support these three magnificent beings as they begin their new life together by adopting Tshili and Dako. All donations will go towards food, maintenance, and anything else they need as they begin their wild life together.