March was an interesting month in terms of the weather and its subsequent effect on the veldt and the rhinos’ behaviour. Temperatures have already started to drop, much earlier than last year, and we are also still experiencing high rainfall. This type of cold, wet climate followed by high temperatures in the day, can make vulnerable rhinos sick very quickly and it can cause food to turn mouldy. We have also observed a sudden increase in grass length.
This at first might sound like a good thing, but the nutritional content is limited. The rhinos are grazing but they are beginning to drop in condition.
Caregivers have been closely monitoring the body conditions of Spirit, Grey, Jemu and Lilli and identified the need to increase the supplementary feeding. Bales of teff and lucerne are now being given to the crash to ensure they receive the energy and nutritional requirements that they need to see them through this winter. This is not their first winter in the Intensive ProtectionZone, but Rhino Monitors and caregivers will still keep a close eye on them.
We are very happy to report significant improvements to Zac’s mobility and activity levels! We recently started Zac on a revised programme of nutritional supplements as well as physio in the form of simulated exercise. This involved caregivers encouraging the act to move more by leading him with his favourite foods.
It is most likely a combination of the supplements and exercise but Zac has shown a great improvement. He is grazing more and is walking out with the other rhinos. He has been seen taking a number of mud baths and was even observed ‘trotting’ towards the teff bales. This is extremely good news. Whilst Zac is over 6 years old and weighing over 1 tonne, he still requires a lot of care and attention. Each rhino is different and we will continue to support him and his individual needs.