Duane the Rhino Orphan has been named a double survivor after surviving poachers last year and now a parasite; he became the first rhino to receive a whole blood transfusion.
Undisclosed Location (27 June 2022) – The Rhino Orphanage takes care of all the calves left behind due to poaching. These young rhinos often need 24-hour specialised care, which is why they are taken from the wild and cared for at the orphanage. They would not survive out in the wild on their own.
Duane arrived at the orphanage in June 2021. He was around 7 months old and he had been left shell-shocked and terrified of humans. On his first night, Duane fought and resisted his carers but once the team managed to get him fed, he calmed down. In time, he learned to trust the team.
“This week marks double survivor Duane’s 1 year rescueversary at the Orphanage. In a horror week in June last year where 11 rhinos (and 4 unborn babies) were poached in a week on private reserves in Limpopo, Duanie was the last remaining rhino in his home. A lost little 7 month old he was very scared of the carers, but eventually settled and became best friends with black rhino, Robynne, who celebrated her 1 year rescueversary on the 1st of June.”
Duane was in good health when he arrived at the orphanage. Unfortunately, earlier this year, his health took knock. Duane was diagnosed with Theileria, a blood parasite passed on to wildlife through a tick vector.
The parasite left him weak, fighting a high fever, elevated heart rate and severe anaemia. His vitals were low and his red blood cells were being brutally attacked. He had a hematocrit reading of 6% when it should be around 45%.
In a first-ever whole blood transfusion on a rhino, Duane was helped back to health and is now back to full health with a hematocrit reading of 42%. He is being called a double survivor, first surviving poachers and then this parasite.
The orphanage shared the happy news of his recovery on the 22nd of June 2022, which was also his 1 year “rescueversary”.