Apollo Update Jan 2021

Posted on January 16 2021

Apollo Update Jan 2021

Our Rhino orphan Apollo, is beginning to look every inch a magnificent rhino, with his armour-like hide and formidable front horn. In fact, one needs to remind oneself that he is just 22 months old! He is still a juvenile by the standards of any large mammal, but especially a rhino: After all, this is a species that can live up to 35+ years, and males don’t reach sexual maturity until they are as old as ten. In other words, our journey with Apollo is only beginning.

Like a typical juvenile, he has been developing a bit of an attitude. He is growing increasingly independent and can be very stubborn when the mood strikes him. One night this month, he staged another nocturnal rebellion, flatly refusing to return to his stable until nearly midnight. His Keepers know that when he is feeling this way, it is best to stand aside and wait until his petulant mood passes. 
While he is making a big show of his growing independence, Apollo remains very hooked on his Keepers. When he hears them approaching his stable in the morning, he begins squeaking in delight. This convivial mood continues throughout the day, as he happily plods after — or, depending on his energy level, runs ahead of — his Keepers from activity to activity. Apollo definitely prefers to have his regular crew around him, and acts aloof towards any strangers who enter his orbit. 

Apollo doesn’t spend too much time fraternizing with the other orphans at our Kaluku Field HQ, for the simple reason that rhinos are solitary by nature and happiest in their own company. However, before he heads out into the bush each morning, he usually meanders up to the lawn to see what the antelopes and other rescued orphans are up to. During his afternoon mud bath, Bristle the orphaned ostrich sometimes joins him from a safe distance. It is a remarkable sight to see these two prehistoric-looking creatures enjoying the sun and mud together!

Rhinos are creatures of habit. It is unsurprising, then, that Apollo is very attached to his daily routine. This begins with his morning bottle of milk and continues throughout the afternoon as he explores the Tsavo ecosystem. Saturated by all the recent rains, the area remains a lush playground for our little rhino. He is learning the lay of the land, discovering the best plants to eat and even getting the hang of mud bathing without the assistance of his Keepers, however, he certainly doesn’t mind them doing all the work.

As the sun sets, Apollo trots right home — unless, of course, he is in one of his obstinate moods! Most nights, however, he makes a beeline for his stable. After polishing off his milk, he samples the fresh cut greens that have been set out for him, before burrowing underneath his beloved mattress. He is a very sound sleeper, and as soon as he shuts his eyes, our little rhino is blissfully oblivious to the rest of the world.

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