Jul 06, 2017

'Baby rhino sleep whisperer' serenades calf with his guitar Featured

A baby rhinoceros rejected by her mother was serenaded to sleep by a caretaker at a sanctuary in South Africa.

The Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in Sonpark received the new calf last month. The calf was born at a game reserve in South Africa.

"The people observing her quickly noted that the mother was not allowing the calf to drink any milk," the sanctuary wrote on its YouTube video. "By morning, it was clear that she had rejected the newborn, so it was decided that human intervention was urgently needed if the calf was to have a chance for survival."

An emergency rescue plan was enacted, which involved flying a helicopter to the reserve, sedating and milking the calf's mother and evacuating the calf so she could be monitored, according to the sanctuary.

She arrived at Care for Wild Rhino a day after her June 19 birth.

Nearly two weeks into her stay at the sanctuary, officials brought in their "baby rhino sleep whisperer" named Mark Mills, who serves as senior ungulate keeper at Monarto Zoo in Australia. Mills, who’s at the South African rhino orphanage on a six-month work placement, brought a guitar into the pen to play some calming chords and lull the rhinoceros to sleep.

As seen in the video, the calf continues to graze around Mills as he strums the guitar strings. After about a minute, the calf collapses in front of him, seemingly in exhaustion, nearly resting her head in his lap.

"Whenever Mark plays the guitar, this baby rhino will listen intently and then snuggle up next to him where she falls into a deep sleep," the sanctuary wrote on their Facebook post. "She is doing well and continues to improve as each day goes by."

It is unclear why the mother rejected the calf but the sanctuary says that’s common behavior for first-time mothers or when they sense something is wrong with a calf's health.