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BeBrave, baby rhino!

BeBrave, baby rhino!

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About this cause:

A hungry and frightened year-old black rhino calf, BeBrave, was found valiantly defending his mother’s carcass from a pride of lions in Zimbabwe's Bubye Valley Conservancy. The mother, BeKnown, had been shot by poachers using a silenced weapon. The silencer reduced both bullet speed and impact, so BeKnown managed to escape with her youngest calf, BeNice, who also was seriously wounded. The poachers eventually chased her down and killed her.

Alerted to the killing of BeKnown and BeNice, staff from Zimbabwe's Lowveld Rhino Trust found the two dead rhinos and went immediately in search of the mother and younger calf. The adult female had already died and had attracted the attention of a pride of hungry lions. BeBrave did his best to protect her, but was already dehydrated and weak, and eventually, he couldn’t fend them off any longer. He retreated into the bush and the lions began to feed on his mother's carcass. The little calf suffered a few lacerations from their claws - a well-earned badge of courage for a year-old rhino.

With his mother dead and unable to feed or protect him, we needed to capture BeBrave so that he could be hand-reared. At more than 650 pounds, he had to be handled cautiously while being convinced to take milk from a bottle. Fortunately, we were able to coax BeBrave to take milk from the bottle right away. BeBrave adapted quickly to his new life, growing rapidly. Because we didn't want him to grow up without companionship, we put a hand-raised eland with him. The two soon became close friends (see photo).

BeBrave has since been returned to the wild, but his story is repeated time and time again as other rhino calves are orphaned when their mothers are killed for their horn. Without our help, these defenseless youngsters will not survive. Please help to provide care and feeding for orphaned rhino calves like BeBrave in Zimbabwe's Lowveld.