Friday, 02 June 2023


Our Story

After preventing two previous poaching attempts, Aquila was hit by a horrific poaching incident that saw three of our rhinos attacked on Saturday 20 August 2011. One survived, while two succumbed to their gruesome injuries. We believe that our anti-poaching teams interrupted the poachers; we know this based on our findings early that Saturday morning. ABSA was found still alive with his front horn removed, while the smaller back horn was left half hacked off. The female rhino was found heavily tranquilised, but still alive with her horns intact.Thanks to rapid response, we managed to administer the antidote which saw her recover completely. Unfortunately, when we came across our third rhino, our worst fears were met and we found him butchered and left to bleed to death.

We were left with the massive task of providing intensive care to ABSA who showed unbelievable resilience to this horrendous attack (ABSA was the first rhino reintroduced into the Western Cape since the species was hunted out 250 years ago). The Aquila team embarked on a cutting edge operation to relocate ABSA from the veld to a temporary boma at Aquila’s Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre (ARC) situated opposite the reserve.

Appeals for assistance were issued to help with the building of a temporary boma. This call to action was met by huge support from both companies and the public and donations of funds, equipment and services began to pour in.

When considering this move, we were aware of the challenges involved in moving a 1.8 tonne rhino under a combination of stress and sedation. However, we established that this was the best chance of ABSA’s survival, due to the recovery treatment options available in a controlled environment.