One glance at Apollo and his expanding girth, and it’s immediately evident that our boy is growing up fast. We can also tell through his mannerisms, which continue to evolve. He is getting bolder and more confident, hurtling further afield during his daily bursts of energy. Although he does always circle back to his Keepers, these independent escapades show how comfortable he is with his territory at Kaluku. He is also expanding his palette, sampling different greens and all in all, becoming more experimental with his browsing sessions.
Apollo likes to run the show. His mornings are all about play and exploring, while he prefers to spend his afternoons in repose. As the sun begins to sink in the sky, he has just two things on his mind: his bedroom and his evening milk bottle. If his Keepers choose a route that Apollo feels might delay this part of proceedings, he simply bypasses them and heads home on his own!
The resident population of guinea fowl has increased tenfold this year, and as a result, Kaluku is positively aflutter with fast growing chicks. Apollo loves to spend time in their midst, oblivious to their shrill chirps. He is a rhino who enjoys the company of other creatures; he often mingles with the other orphans at Kaluku, including Oka the oryx and our many kudus who live close to home. However, he does have his limits. When a newly born wild waterbuck leapt up from the nearby undergrowth, Apollo bolted with a chorus of huffs and snorts. It took a long time before the Keepers were able to locate him and calm his frazzled nerves.
Now that it is quite a bit colder, Apollo has adapted his mud bath routine accordingly. Now, he avoids the water and focuses on dusting. The Keepers spoil him in this regard, creating a shallow mud wallow where he can coat his skin without getting too chilly. True to form, once he is lathered up in dust, he erupts from the earth in high spirits. This is the time to keep your distance, as the burly little tank is a ball of energy, galloping back and forth with gusto for a good 20 minutes. After he has spun himself into exhaustion, he settles under the baobab tree. The Keepers give him a tummy rub, which sends him into a blissful stupor, and he usually takes a long nap in the shade.
Sunup to sundown, Apollo’s Keepers are always by his side. These daily adventures are vital, allowing Apollo to hone his instincts and learn the ways of the wild so that one day, when he is big enough to fend for himself, he can look to lead a totally independent life. For orphaned rhinos, this is a lengthy process. Raising a baby rhino is one thing, but reintegration is a formidable challenge. This is the opposite of elephants, who are difficult to raise but easy to reintegrate, thanks to their exceptionally social nature. Rhinos, which are largely solitary creatures, take longer to accept newcomers. However, we have successfully reintegrated a number of orphaned rhinos, and we know that the slow-but-steady approach works well. Apollo will remain in our care for some time to come, but every day marks a bit of progress in his ultimate reintegration journey.
Thank you so much for your continued support of Apollo and the orphans, which enables us to provide for all their wants and needs.