November 2022
Press Features

The Fight to Save a Species – one rhino orphan’s remarkable journey

in Press Features

The Fight to Save a Species – one rhino orphan’s remarkable journey

November 2022 – After a tragic poaching incident in August left a 7-month-old rhino calf stranded for three days – hungry and afraid – the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve in South Africa launched a remarkable rescue operation to save the little calf’s life.

When security drones captured footage of the small rhino walking alone, it was already too dark for the rescue helicopter to fly. With high concentrations of hyenas and lions around, the team feared he would not survive another night – so, determined to keep him safe, they used several DJI Mavic drones to keep a watchful eye on the orphan from 20m above –alternating drones as soon as batteries ran flat.

At first light, the rescue team from Sabi Sand Nature Reserve and team members of Care for Wild (the world’s largest rhino sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orphaned rhino) swiftly darted and moved the calf to Care for Wild’s intensive care unit, where he received 24-hour care, intravenous fluids and milk to stabilise his condition.

In recognition of the enormous efforts to save the little orphan, he was named Mavic, after the drones that saved his life.

For the first 48 hours, a traumatised Mavic drank milk every 2-3 hours and slept deeply. Since then, his recovery has included many steps in the programme of desensitisation. Apart from learning to trust his caregivers, one of his most important milestones was finding comfort and companionship with two older rhino orphans at Care for Wild. He followed them everywhere and has settled into his new rhino crash, where he will stay for up to three years.

Inge Kotze, Singita General Manager Conservation says, “Mavic is both a story of heartbreak and hope – illustrating the tireless efforts, immense passion and dedication of remarkable teams. We trust that he’ll thrive in the wonderful care of his guardians and we, as Singita Lowveld Trust, will continue to do everything we can to support their efforts in the fight for our rhino.”

As the poaching crisis continues, saving every endangered rhino is of the utmost importance to secure the future of the species. Read the full account of Mavic’s rescue and ongoing recovery at Care for Wild here.

Sponsoring Mavic to help save a species

The Singita Lowveld Trust (Singita’s non-profit conservation partner in South Africa) is sponsoring Mavic’s first year of care. Funds were raised through the sale of an Ardmore ceramic piece.

The total cost for the first year amounts to R233,000 and includes constant care, milk, feed, veterinary and staffing expenses. The second year of weaning and supplementary feed costs R150,000; and the third, R96,000 – which is the final or rewilding phase. Rehabilitating and rewilding one rhino orphan over three years totals R479,000 (or USD 26,434).

The aim is to increase the sponsorship to not only see Mavic’s rehabilitation through to his eventual release into the wild, but to also support other rhino orphans and contribute to the survival of the species in South Africa.

We need your help

Every rhino counts. Each cow can produce up to eight calves in a lifetime, and therefore, it is critical to support the rehabilitation of orphaned rhino to be released back into the wild.

Support the Singita Lowveld Trust as they help fund Mavic’s additional two years of care – and other rhino orphans who have suffered similar fates. Find out how you can become part of the positive change through this meaningful initiative and donate here:

Watch the video of Mavic’s remarkable rescue operation here >


About Singita

Singita is a conservation and ecotourism brand that has been helping to preserve Africa’s wildlife and wilderness for almost three decades, offering guests exceptional safari experiences at 15 luxury, award-winning lodges, and camps across four countries. In partnership with non-profit Funds & Trusts who implement strategic conservation projects in each region, Singita’s 100-year purpose is to preserve and protect large parts of African wilderness for future generations. 

For reservations:, +27 21 683 3424,

About the Singita Lowveld Trust

The Singita Lowveld Trust (SLT) is Singita’s non-profit partner in South Africa; an independent organisation responsible for bringing Singita’s conservation vision to life by driving forward strategic conservation initiatives that fulfil its commitment to biodiversity, sustainability and community partnerships. The SLT focuses on providing quality Early Childhood Development education and skills development opportunities to the communities surrounding the lodges.

About Care for Wild

Care for Wild is the largest orphan rhino sanctuary in the world. They rescue, rehabilitate, rewild, release and protect rhino, but also do so much more. The vision is the conservation of viable black and white rhino breeding populations in protected areas through community involvement and the integration of sustainable solutions. The mission is the rescue, rehabilitation, rewilding, release, and ongoing protection of this key stone species.

Visit to find out more about their incredible work.

Press release issued by: Lisa Carey, PR & Communications Manager (

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