In 2012, the RhinoProtect project was expanded with the rescue and relocation of two baby rhinos, prompting the establishment of an orphanage at Inverdoorn Game Reserve and Iziba Safari Lodge. In December of that year the orphaned calves were introduced to the reserve, bringing the total number of rhinos at Inverdoorn up to five.
The new rhinos, a male and a female, were just three months old when they arrived. They came from Limpopo where they had lost their mothers to poachers. Rhino calves are very attached to their mothers, often staying with them for as long as three years, and losing them, particularly to poachers, can be very traumatising.
The owner of Inverdoorn and founder of RhinoProtect, Damien Vergnaud, decided, together with his team, that they would name the baby rhinos, seeing as they were to become ambassadors of the newly erected rhino orphanage. The male was dubbed Bundu, which is a South African slang word denoting an uninhabited, wild region. The female was named after a beloved Afrikaans’ children’s story character, Lavinia. The young pair, as well as the older three on the reserve, are white rhinos, one of the two subspecies found in Africa.
The orphanage is situated in front of the 5-star Luxury Chalets and Ambassador Suite at Inverdoorn Game Reserve. Guests are able to walk to the orphanage and greet the young rhinos. Upon their arrival they were already a sizable pair and have grown bigger and stronger over the past two years, as the RhinoProtect team continue to care for them.
Bundu and Lavinia will eventually be released into the main part of the reserve to roam free. Their handlers attend to them with the utmost care and attention and the humongous babies are fed twice a day. It is RhinoProtect’s mission to save more baby rhinos who have become victims of the poaching crisis. Together with the horn treatment, the wildlife initiative aims to both rescue and protect rhinos in order to preserve the species for many generations to come.