HOEDSPRUIT ENDANGERED SPECIES CENTRE (HESC)
The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre strives to support the welfare and conservation of endangered animal species and provides amongst others a specialised facility for rhinos.
About the Rescued Rhinos at HESC
HESC has become a trusted facility to provide rehabilitation to victims of rhino poaching, as well as care for orphaned rhinos, due to their mothers falling victim to rhino poachers.
The centre has provided support in rescue operations, which includes relocation and care of orphaned, traumatised and injured rhinos through the act of poaching.
HESC, together with Saving the Survivors and leading wildlife veterinarian Dr. Peter Rogers have been instrumental in successful and groundbreaking research into the treatment of survivors of rhino poaching. They have successfully treated and saved the lives of four survivors, two of which have already been released back into the wild.
Many rhino calves have also been cared for at HESC through their crucial early months and years and brought closer to the point of independence.
At such a critical time in the species survival, saving every individual rhino becomes essential to ensure that we protect and conserve the genetic viability of the species. It is crucial that wounded & orphaned rhinos get a second chance, whatever the cost.
Our Objectives for supporting Rescued Rhinos
- The treatment and care of survivors of rhino poaching and orphaned rhinos due to rhino poaching
- The rehabilitation and release of rhinos back into the wild (prospective destinations must exhibit sound environmental and conservation management policies).
- The promotion of scientific research and development relating to rhino conservation.
- The education of learners, students and the general public in respect of the many fallacies that surround the medicinal value of rhino horn, and the far-reaching effects of the atrocity of rhino poaching.
- The survival of the species.
Injured and Traumatized Rhinos
HESC’s expertise lies in their team of dedicated curators, veterinarians and specialists from Onderstepoort (University of Pretoria), earned on the back of years of actual practice in the field.
Despite the challenge of rehabilitating the rhino (we know very little about optimal treatment in rhino, and the sheer size and complexity of their physiology and how they respond to drugs has been a barrier to success for many similar institutions), HESC now has enough experience under their belts to continue with other similar cases of rehabilitation.
They have also learned that regardless of how hopeless a particular surviving rhino may seem, there is always the chance of survival. The treatment of such rhinos is a long-term one, and comes at a massive cost
“These facilities can serve a very important function in the current climate where heavy poaching of animals such as rhinos are common, especially in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Significant and beneficial scientific info can be generated by treating and monitoring these injured animals over an extended period of time to gain a better understanding of how to manage and treat them in the long term. One also obtains valuable info on other aspects of the animals e.g. anatomy, histology and physiological parameters. This is obviously advantageous to the survival of the species, not only with the respect to the White and Black rhino in Southern Africa, but also the extremely endangered rhino species on the Indian subcontinent where the principles that was learned from our rhino, can then be applied to animals on other continents.” – Wildlife vet Johan Marais of Saving the Survivors