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Orphan Warthog Rescue

March 1, 2016

 

Stella is an orphaned warthog that was rescued and hand-raised by C.A.R.E. volunteers and staff.  She has been under-going rehabilitation and now lives wild and free.  We are so proud of her! 

 

It was a busy day at the centre, and Assisting Manager Samantha was cleaning the Veterinary Clinic when the reserve ranger turned up unexpectedly.  The ranger found a dead warthog in a snare, and Stella, a tiny baby that could fit in your hand, was next to her.  Thankfully he took the time to catch the scared little orphan baby warthog and quickly took her to C.A.R.E.’s Veterinary Clinic where he knew she would get round-the-clock care and the necessary rehabilitation.  The last thing anyone wants is to see a wild animal in a cage for the rest of it's life, so it was essential to know that the warthog baby was in the hands of wildlife rehabilitators.

 

Stella received medication and TLC and after a long rehabilitation journey is now living wild.  We are very proud of this very special lady and excited that when we recieve other orphan warthogs that she, with her loving and nurturing personality could act as their surrogate mother; aiding with their quick integration into the wild and removing the need for human care quicker. 

 

"it was touch and go for a while, but now she is flourishing"

 

Poaching is a huge threat to Africa’s wildlife and Stella is very lucky to have been rescued.  She was very cold, dehydrated, hungry and lethargic.  The C.A.R.E. team kept Stella warm, gave her fluids and syringe fed her special milk formula as directed by veterinarians.  Warthog’s in the wild live in family groups, the babies follow their mother and aunties and play with their siblings.  With no other warthog baby orphans at the centre it made it challenging to raise Stella without ‘taming her’, a very tame wild animal can become aggressive and dangerous.  Warthogs are renowned for having sharp tusks and teeth, so raising her to be wild and respectful of humans was of paramount importance.  There are lots of wild warthogs which roam freely at C.A.R.E. for Stella to eventually integrate with. 

 

Stella has done superbly! We are so proud of how far she has come.  She has been at the centre for over a year now and no longer has any supplemented feeding, she puts herself to bed every-night outside and only comes over to people now and then out of curiosity, but mostly stays away; spending her days foraging.... we are so proud of her for becoming a "wild" warthog.

 

"Every day, Stella was encouraged to be a warthog and everyday her eventual adult-hood was in-mind."

 

It was touch and go for Stella for a while and she almost died of pneumonia but with lots of TLC she began to thrive.  Stella enjoyed joining the baby orphan baboons and volunteers when they foraged along the river and gradually Stella began to forage on her own.  Every day, Stella was encouraged to be a warthog and everyday her eventual adult-hood was in-mind.  Her successful rehabilitation into living as a wild-warthog comes from the fact that from a baby, she was encouraged to be a wild warthog and lived in her native habitat.  At each stage of her development, her care was adapted.  When she was old enough to walk around the reserve alone she could, and was taken on walks with humans which had been with her from the beginning of her rehabilitation.  We were worried at one stage, thinking she would be a problem hen she was ready, her transition from human rearing to being wild, took LOTS of efforts and conscious decision making to keep pushing for her to be a wild warthog.

 

Stella is now a year old and spends all her days searching for natural food among the other wildlife on the reserve and trying her best to make friends with the wild warthogs.  She is completely free to go where she wants, eat what she wants and sleep where she wants.  She still gives the humans at C.A.R.E. a polite nudge with her snout to say hello now and then and enjoys walking along with the dogs when they get walked at dusk but mostly she enjoys being free.  The wild warthog females aren’t easily impressed with her though and often chase her away, but a few males seem to be very interested in the pretty, healthy female!  We hope that next year Stella’s hormones will attract a mate and she will have wild babies of her own.

 

We know there are risks to living free, but seeing her have the freedom to roam and freedom of choice is what wildlife rehabilitation should be all about. 

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