Thandi and Family – New Baby Rhino at Kariega!

Thandi and Family – New Baby Rhino at Kariega!

Posted by Georgia Wilson on 7th Jan 2021

Whilst things still feel uncertain in today’s world, we are all holding out hope for what the New Year will bring us. Fortunately, the Kariega ‘Big 5’ Conservation Project has shared with us some heart-warming news to start 2021 with a reason to celebrate. On January 4th, the field guides set about their daily work and had an exciting surprise along the way, they spotted Thandi (a female white rhino with an incredible history) grazing with a tiny calf in her shadow - Thandi had given birth to a baby boy!

Thandi and New Male Calf

Every new-born calf is celebrated as a conservational success, especially as rhinos have faced many hardships that once saw the species on the verge of extinction. Most notably, the poaching of rhino horns has been and continues to be, a huge threat to these animals. Thandi’s story is one that examples the plight of the species as she famously is the first-ever rhino to have survived a poaching attack. In 2012, poachers invaded the reserve and darted 3 rhinos with tranquillisers before hacking off their horns with machetes. They were left to bleed out as the tranquilisers wore off and sadly, one of the bulls died there that night. Thandi and Themba (another bull) were found in critical condition and began intensive treatment led by veterinarian Dr Fowlds. Unfortunately, Themba has sustained an injury to his leg during the attack from which he didn’t recover, a short three weeks later he passed away.

Thandi and Siya

Thandi’s recovery was a long process that even involved pioneering skin grafts to her face. Her story hit headlines around the world and inspired many to contribute their efforts towards rhino conservation. Thousands of pounds were raised for the protection of the species, as well as her treatments. It was during her skin grafts in 2013 that a blood test revealed that Thandi was pregnant with her first calf. After a gestation period of 16 months, she gave birth to a female calf named Thembi in January 2015. Since then, Thandi has given birth to 4 healthy calves including this new addition! The team have called him Siya, named after Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi, who was also born in the Eastern Cape region.

Mother and New Baby at Kariega

After a horrific ordeal, Thandi’s strength and resilience have been an inspiration and a reminder that no matter the situation we are in, there is always hope for a better tomorrow. She is continuing to grow not only her own ‘family’ but the rhino population as a whole. For now, Thandi is keeping little Siya close and the team are monitoring them carefully. We look forward to bringing you updates on the mother and son duo!


Share this Article...

Share this article with your friends and followers by using the social media buttons below.


Leave a Comment...

Wanting to add something to this story or just let us know your thoughts? Just leave your comments below. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated: abusive behaviour or self-promotion will not be allowed.

500 characters remaining

Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.


Featured Blog Arcticles


Featured Videos


Experience The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary! This volunteer project offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country's most iconic species.

Discover The Great White Shark Project

Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.

Volunteers Review Their Experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteers talk about their recent experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo.

Latest Blog Arcticles


Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

After 2 difficult years, we finally welcomed volunteers...

Merle’s Orangutan Experience at Samboja

Merle’s Orangutan Experience at Samboja

Merle shares her experiences from her time spent...

An Invasive Species: The Lionfish

An Invasive Species: The Lionfish

Many invasive species have made their way to all corners of...

Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

After a lot of hard work by the June 2022 volunteer group,...

The Latest From The Great Orangutan Project!

The Latest From The Great Orangutan Project!

The Great Projects volunteer coordinator, Jess, is...

An Update from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project!

An Update from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project!

Samboja Lestari welcomed back volunteers this month, and...

Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Kathy and Drew joined The Great Gorilla Project in January...

Raja Ampat Diving Project - Magical Manta Ray Moments!

Raja Ampat Diving Project - Magical Manta Ray Moments!

Manta ray season is at its peak at the Raja Ampat Diving...


Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987