Hunter Mitchell, Aquila Animal and Rescue Centre’s (ARC) ambassador has scooped the “Visionary Wildlife Warrior for 2016” awarded by the Steve Irwin Wildlife Warrior Foundation in Australia.
Nine year old Hunter Mitchell, was so inspired by drama that played out at Aquila Private Game reserve (Western Cape South Africa) in the early hours of 31 December 2015 when a rhino calf was born, abandoned by its Mother and the subsequent rescue of the calf by Animal welfare staff at the reserve, that he set about single handedly raising R75 000 to assist in hand rearing this calf.
The calf, subsequently named “Osita”, meaning “from today on-wards it will be better”, is now a strapping 600 kg and 1.4 mts tall. Osita has adapted well to its surroundings with the help of a goat animal companion called “bokkie”, introduced to teach Osita how to graze and so that eventually human interaction could be reduced in preparation for the eventual release back into the wild. Osita, “Bokkie” and a human carer spend every hour of the day together and are often seen on their twice daily walks through the reserve.
Hunter is a frequent visitor to Osita and lends a hand with mud baths, feeding and mucking out the boma. Hunter, together with rhino carer, Divan Grobler and with the blessing of A.R.C and Rhino Art (an NGO focussed on the international education of children) have visited many schools in the Western Cape area, raising awareness for rhino conservation. Hunter says that Osita has become a symbol of hope for him that rhinos can be protected if people care enough.
Hunter and his parents have been invited to attend the gala event in Brisbane to receive his award at the end of the month. Unfortunately funds are an issue and A.R.C. together with Rhino Art are appealing to the public to assist in getting this little wildlife warrior across the ocean to collect his award. We are looking to raise around R80 000 to send Hunter, his Mom and Grobler across to Australia, while over there Hunter and Grobler will be doing some talks at schools on rhino conservation.
If you would like to assist please select one of our options below and quote the reference “warrior” so we can identify your donation for this specific project.
- Donation page: http://www.animalrescuecentre.co.za/make-a-donation
- Link to PayFast donations page: https://www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/aquila
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