Almar Container Group has donated a 40-foot (12 m) general purpose (GP) shipping container to the Zululand Rhino Orphanage to provide accommodation for rhino facilities and make life easier for staff members at the orphanage working hard to eradicate rhino poaching in South Africa. The company worked closely with Container Conversions (Pty) Ltd, a longstanding partner of the rhino orphanage that has played a pivotal role in providing container accommodation and containers that have been used to establish other critical facilities to help save the rhino.
While the fight to save South Africa’s rhinos has been ongoing for decades, the Zululand Rhino Orphanage is a relatively new undertaking that was launched after a local KZN sanctuary, the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage was attacked on 20th February 2017. Two baby rhino orphans were killed, several staff members were beaten savagely, and a young woman was sexually assaulted. The long-term implication of this horrific attack was that the orphanage, which had been operating since 2014, was forced to close its doors forever. The reason was, quite simply, that they couldn't guarantee the safety of either the animals or staff working there.
With no time to waste, the Zululand Conservation Trust decided to do the impossible and create a new orphanage to save the displaced orphans and continue with their rehabilitation.
The two oldest animals, both black rhinos, were moved to a new 3.5-hectare boma on 14th March. But more formal facilities were needed for the less independent remaining three orphans, two of which were white rhinos, and a baby hippo. These animals needed to be fed every three to four hours, and they needed to be monitored 24/7. The vital requirements were a kitchen where milk could be prepared and a warm, secure place where they could sleep.
Container Conversions stepped in, and by the end of April, the young orphans were moved to their new container accommodation. Around this time, the Zululand Conservation Trust reached out to Almar after learning the company had indicated it would donate a shipping container to help increase the much-needed container accommodation and facilities.
Not long after this, in mid-May, the Zululand Rhino Orphanage received a plea for help from another KZN reserve to accept a four-month-old orphan that had survived nearly a week next to the lifeless carcass of his mother, ruthlessly killed by poachers. More temporary living space was added and extra carers brought in to help keep the animals alive.
According to the orphanage, all four youngsters are doing well and the aim is to return them to the wild once they are old enough and strong enough to survive.
Shipping containers are strong and robust and can be converted for a multitude of uses as offices, storage facilities, clinics, classrooms, laboratories, and of course for container accommodation.
They can be stacked easily and joined together to create secure units that are much larger than a single container. They are ideal for use where the environment is rugged or where safety and security is an issue.
While Almar has provided containers for a host of uses, including remote on-site accommodation, since it was established in 1988, providing container accommodation for rhino orphans is a first. Our donation was made even more rewarding when representatives of the company were invited to visit the orphanage earlier this month (July 2018).
It was amazing to witness the dedication that the staff at the orphanage have. Well done to the team at the Zululand Rhino Orphanage and thank you for the opportunity to participate in this very deserving cause.