Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust made an important contribution to the rhino awareness campaign which was held on International Rhino day, the 22nd of September, by way of publishing an activity booklet for children about the true story of Roccy’s fight to survive the incredible odds stacked against him.
Roccy – who was orphaned at the age of 3 months when his mother was shot to steal her horns – received world wide media attention after the successful surgical removal of cataracts from both his eyes, (in all probability the result of the trauma and dehydration Roccy sustained during the brutal attack).
A startlingly clear fact that emerged from communications received by Roccy –
– is the amount of interest and goodwill that the youth of South Africa has towards this cause, to save their rhinos from extinction, and more specifically that many can identify with Roccy in his struggle to live a normal rhino life. It is also the definite conviction of Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust that the only certain way of stemming the tide of rhino killings – just ahead of rhino day the number killed is 381 for 2012 – will be through the education on this topic of a young generation that has the healing of our wounded environment at heart! It is said that the point of no return for the rhino as a species will be reached in ten to fifteen years time – the age when the children of today will be opinion forming adults. Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust is certain that, armed with enough information regarding the horrors of rhino poaching as well as the knowledge that rhino horn has no medicinal value; this brave new generation will make certain that the rhino – a symbol of their special natural heritage – will indeed survive! The unique and informative publication “Roccy the Survivor” is the result of our need to communicate directly with children concerned with protecting and caring for rhinos.
The activity booklet, “Roccy the Survivor”, will be aimed at children who have just started reading and still enjoy coloring in. The wording and theme is intended to be easily digestible and interesting for young children. The theme is about the ordeals that the then 3 month old Roccy had to endure, as well as the clear explanation that rhino horn is made of the same stuff as hair – without any intrinsic medicinal value!
Presently Pick n Pay will distribute 40 000 copies of “Roccy the Survivor”, through the Pick n Pay Schools Club, to scores of schools representing all social strata of the South African community! An important part of this awareness campaign is to have as many children as would want to, fill in a pledge form to signal their intention to help this noble cause! Roccy and Clova are now just over a year old and in their short lives they have shown countless children – and adults – how a loving and positive attitude to life can help one overcome the worst of obstacles. Roccy and Clova are being successfully rehabilitated and will be released to roam the Elandela Private Nature Reserve.
The single most important aspect of this project is that the activity book, “Roccy the Survivor”, must be completely FREE! Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust has also committed itself to making a copy available to download from this website within a short space of time, for any child in any part of the world to download, enjoy and then join the growing global initiative to halt rhino poaching! No donations, no payments!
It is the intense desire of Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust to have as many free copies of “Roccy the Survivor” distributed to as many interested children globally, as possible. This is an open invitation to any rhino lover or rhino support group to contact
or on Twitter at Roccy Rhino, in order to organize and activate as many free publications of “Roccy the Survivor” as possible!
Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust earnestly needs to hear from any corporation or company which is in agreement that, by sponsoring the publication “Roccy the Survivor”, much can be done to secure the existence of the rhinos of South Africa. Please help us inform your children about “Roccy the Survivor” and about the necessity that all of us, together, have to make this world a safer place for rhinos to live in!!
Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust appreciates your support!
Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust is one of the initiatives intent on securing the rhino's future existence. Our motivation to contribute to this effort stems from the experience we have had in losing a rhino cow to rhino poachers, being left with a severely disabled wounded rhino cow and most importantly having to raise an orphaned 3 month old rhino calf, named Roccy. The heartening reaction of goodwill from rhino lovers wanting to contribute to ensure Roccy's protection and care, led to the creation of “Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust”. Firstly E.R.S.T has to fulfil its duty to raise this amazing, orphaned, rhino calf and secondly we need to increase worldwide awareness of the rhino’s plight and the importance of creating conditions for their survival.
Subsequent to the killing of his mother, Roccy developed cataracts in both eyes. This clouding of the material inside the lense capsules of both eyes inhibited the entry of light onto the retinas. This was caused by a combination of trauma, dehydration and possibly the reduction of enzymes breaking down milk, or lactose. It soon became apparent that he had very little vision because he walked in circles and bumped into objects. His left eye was affected more than the right eye and in order to see ahead, he had to circle to the left to try and get an image from his right eye of what lay ahead. Roccy instilled respect for his positive attitude and fierce resolve to live. As rhino poaching is a scourge characterized by destruction and wanton waste, Roccy’s gusto for survival shone as a beacon of motivation to all who came into contact with him.
Elandela Rhino Survivor Trust and the many kindhearted donators, who prioritized the normalizing of Roccy’s life, effected an almost miraculous cataract removal operation on Roccy on the third of January 2012. Dr. Antony Goodhead, a veterinarian ophthalmologist, removed the milky substance from the lense capsules as well as slit open the posterior capsules to ensure more light entering onto Roccy’s retinas. According to him normal rhinos have 10% of the vision of humans with an ability to distinguish forms up to about 60 meters. Roccy was transported to and from the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute near Pretoria where the operation was done under general anesthesia. A month later it became clear that Roccy’s peripheral vision and depth of field was significantly improved. He is now walking straight and without bumping into stones or the gate of his pen. The operation was definitely a huge success and with this came a change in his character! He rapidly became more self assured but needed a rhino companion to remind him that he was a rhino.
Just before Christmas 2011, Elandela Lodge purchased a 6 month old female orphan from a neighbouring reserve. We named her Clova, after one of our important sponsors. Clova and Roccy bonded immediately and Roccy decided he most definitely is a rhino! Clova is much the lady but with a clearer memory of life in the wilds. She and Roccy are still drinking milk – rhinos lactate for 18 months – but for the rest they prefer to graze on their own, in their camp. We at E.R.S.T. are confident that the day of Roccy and Clova successfully living on Elandela Private Reserve as normal rhinos, is fast approaching!