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Seha

On the 24th of September 2016, the day CITES CoP17 opened in Johannesburg and the South African President called rhinos “our proud heritage”, Saving the Survivors treated this severely injured twelve-year-old White Rhino bull in the North West province after a vicious attack by poachers.

A very despondent owner, who initially wanted to put him down because of the severity of the injuries, accepted STS’s offer of assistance in rescuing and treating him. Seha (short for Sehawukele meaning ‘have mercy on us’ in Zulu) was the only survivor after five rhinos were poached on the same property. Both his horns were hacked off leaving a gaping wound of 49 cm x 26 cm and extending into the nasal cavities. Not since Hope was left for dead and found with both her horns removed 16 months earlier in an attack in the Eastern Cape, had STS encountered such callousness.

Seha has endured many treatments over the last few years and has showed remarkable resolve and courage to survive. In 2018 we decided his wound had healed enough to introduce him to two females, with the result that little Daniel was born in June 2019. This underpins the concept of saving injured and poached survivors, allowing them to breed eventually as to not lose their genetics and continuing the survival of the species

In January 2022, Seha was successfully returned to the wild! A safe and well protected game reserve in the heart of Limpopo Province of South Africa had been identified and was to be the home of this incredibly brave and strong Rhino. Additionally, and with our partners “Baby Rhino Rescue”, it was decided to purchase two female Rhinos of breeding age, with the hopes that Seha will take a fancy to these ladies, thus further contributing his strong genetics to the greater Rhino population.

Over 6 months after the introduction of the two Rhino cows, called Tshilidzi and Dakalo, Seha had yet to find them! This bought us to realise that Seha’s sense of smell must have been damaged more than we first thought during his horrific poaching incident.

Thanks to the constant watchful eye of Seha’s personal Rhino shepherd, it soon became apparent that Seha was struggling to get enough nourishment during his first winter in his new wild home. He was not doing well, and his condition was quickly deteriorating. The STS team and our generous supporters worked quickly to gather resources and additional feed was brought to him twice daily for a few weeks which perked him right up! Soon Seha was once again the chunky and cheeky bull we have grown to love over the years.

Unbeknownst to us all the two females who were bought to accompany Seha turned out to be pregnant all a long! This was a shock to Seha as much as for us! The mothers and calves had to be moved to a separate large area in order to ensure the calves and Seha both remain safe during this critical time in the new calves and mothers lives. It had become clear that this reserve was not ideal for Seha, the nature of the landscape and ecosystem was not optimal for the healing of his wound.

After a year on that reserve a new, more suitable home had been found for our awesome survivor Seha, the 2 cows and their calves. In 2023 they all moved there and live together as Seha’s very own crash! This time we hope that Seha will mate with the cows adding to the crash and most importantly, adding his impressive genes to the global Rhino population.

In February 2024 Dr. Johan visited Seha to asses his progress. Great news! The new reserve seems perfect for Seha, his wound looking better than ever and our Bull is in great physical shape. He spends his days wandering the large reserve, enjoying a truly wild life. He often socialises with the cows, making us hopeful of the possibility of more calves for Seha and further contributing to the survival of this endangered species and the preservation of Seha’s awesome genes.

Stay tuned for news of the crash in their new home and their ongoing contribution to the survival of an endangered species!