On 22nd June, we moved Gertjie and Matimba to one of the bigger enclosures. When we started with the move, it seemed as though it was going to be easy. The rhinos responded well when we called them, and eagerly started following the vehicle together. In tow were Lammie, Nungu and Boo, the donkey. None wanted to be left out of the excitement.
There was a somewhat of a hiccup as we passed the cheetah enclosures. The rhinos were a bit reluctant to go past this area, but after we enticed them with some lucerne, and reassurance from the curators, they eventually followed. After seeing his big brother take the first step, Matimba happily followed (but stayed very close to) Gertjie’s side.
Just as we thought we had it in the bag, we hit another minor obstacle. Gertjie and Matimba had to walk across the cattle grid to get to their enclosure. We’d placed a conveyor belt over the grid to make it easier for them. This time Matimba took the lead to show Gertjie how it’s done. But shortly after inspecting the cattle grid from up close, he gave Gertjie a look that clearly said “help”. Being the big brother that he is, Gertjie came closer. After a very long struggle, they eventually won. The challenge was to now think of a plan to get them into their new enclosure.
We led the rhinos through an empty cheetah enclosure, which had a gate leading into their new camp. To see the trust that has developed between man and animal is beautiful, as both rhinos obediently followed the curators. As soon as they had entered their new space they started to graze and we peacefully left them to be. What a process!
Gertjie and Matimba are very happy in their new home and enjoy the big space they now have to roam around in. Matimba never takes his eyes off Gertjie, making sure that his big brother doesn’t leave him behind. We are still in amazement at the bond between these two rhino brothers, and how Matimba immediately adopted Gertjie as his big brother; his safety.
We still spoil them with some teff or lucerne every once in a while just to make sure they don’t forget us….