Some of our wonderful team of Field Guides from Sibuya Game Reserve at the finish line of the Kenton Rhino Run. Not only do they work tirelessly to ensure our guests have a unique and memorable stay on our reserve, they also use their free time to raise awareness for important issues like Rhino Poaching. A very special group of people!
Darwin’s bark spider (Caerostris darwini) is an orb-weaver spider – a member of the family Araneidae. Regularly seen in the Sibuya Game Reserve‘s bush. Like other spiders of the genus, they display extreme sexual dimorphism, with large females and small males. Females vary in total body length from about 18 to 22 mm (0.7 to 0.9 in), males being around one third or less of this length, at about 6 mm (0.2 in).
A bark spider building its web in the trees around Sibuya Game Reserve
The spider’s silk is the toughest biological material ever studied, over ten times tougher than a similarly-sized piece of Kevlar. The average toughness of the fibres is 350 MJ/m3, and some are up to 520 MJ/m3, making the silk twice as tough as any other spider silk known.
The web of Darwin’s bark spider is remarkable in that it is not only the longest spanning web ever observed, but is among the largest orb webs ever seen, at an area of up to 2.8 square metres (30 sq ft). Nephila komaci, discovered in 2009, and some other Nephila species also make webs that can exceed 1 m (3 ft 3 in) across.
The spider was described along with a previously undescribed species of fly, which appeared to have a kleptoparasitic relationship with it. The flies often feed on the spider’s catches before the spider wraps them. Occasionally, spiders have been observed to chase away the flies when they land on something that the spider is eating.
After the trauma of the last few days we have to look to the future and now start to dwell on the positives. Binki, Sibuya’s 11 and a half month old calf has been put in a boma with another orphaned older calf. Almost immediately they joined up and started grazing together which led the vet and carers to decide that she should just be left to graze. Although milk was put in a trough for her just in case, she ignored it and so far seems to be doing well without it.
The baby started off well and took to the bottle immediately on arrival at the sanctuary which was a huge relief. However as the sedatives wore off she became very traumatised and stopped drinking. The vet and carers decided to give her more sedative and very fortunately she started drinking from the bottle again.
Fortunately now she is no longer sedated and is accepting her bottle from her surrogate “mum” naturally and without drugs.
This is great news and although not out of the woods we are all cautiously optimistic.
Sadly the heartbreak continues for Sibuya Game Reserve as Bingo died at 6.30 pm yesterday.
The day after he was downed (Thursday), the Vet noticed a white discolouration in his right eye – something seen before in similar cases and it is thought caused by the blood pressure building up from being down for so long. Unfortunately what we didn’t know was that by Friday night he had gone blind in both eyes and during the night he stumbled down the hill and into the Estuary. When we found him he was in the water in deep mud with a sheer cliff behind him. It was obvious that he had been struggling to try and get up the steep bank but kept slipping back into the mud. We spent the entire day putting rocks and branches around him to give him a foothold in the mud and cutting away at the bank so he could hopefully walk out. Sadly, although he managed to get out of the river a couple of times, he could not see the pathway despite our coaxing, calling and even prodding. By 6 o clock, with the day fading and the tide coming in, it was achingly clear that he had run out of strength, unable to help himself any longer and was about to drown in the rising water. The terrible devastating decision was taken to put him to sleep and save him further agony, fear and suffering.
During the day I had a call from reception to say that a man was there sobbing and asking what he could to do help and at least could he please make a donation. The Receptionist said it was so tough for them as they hadn’t seen a grown man cry before… well as Bingo drifted off, there wasn’t a dry eye from the Vet to the toughest APU member at the scene. After days of almost breaking down emotionally, the final loss of our beloved Bingo was just too much to bear.
RIP Bingo – all who have met you have been blessed by the experience. I am so sorry that there was so much pain and suffering in the end, but please know we were always only trying to do what we thought was best for you.
Your loving Sibuya family who have found joy in your majesty.
Today is a difficult day for Sibuya Game reserve and Sibuya Rhino Foundation. We are still trying to accept the fact that two of our beautiful rhino are gone and also hoping that the two orphaned babies are going to settle into their new home.
We are quite literally overwhelmed by all the love and support that we have received from the world wide community. We can not thank you all enough for the support and kindness that you have provided during this incredibly difficult time.
To everyone that has commented on our posts, thank you, your words are keeping us going.
To everyone who has liked and shared our posts and Sibuya Rhino Foundation page, you are helping to spread the word and create awareness. If one good thing can come of this, it is educating people on the extent of the poaching crisis.
If you would like to donate to help protect these rhino, please go to the Sibuya Rhino Foundation page and click donate now. Every little bit helps us get one step closer to saving these animals.
Please keep our rhino orphans in your thoughts, we will update as soon as we have any information.
In order to stay one step ahead of the poachers, Sibuya Rhino Foundation are constantly needing to update their equipment and invest in new technology. Their current project is to purchase a thermal drone. This amazing piece of equipment would enable them to view large areas of the property that wouldn’t normally be accessible by the APU team. It would also pick up any people that may be hiding in the bush using thermal imaging. It has automatic sensors that trigger a message to central APU if a person is spotted by its cameras.
Sibuya Game Reserve is large enough to accommodate up to 100 rhino – Their aim is to convert the reserve into a rhino sanctuary where they can protect these beautiful beasts from the poaching scourge. In order to do so they need to secure the entire reserve with the latest most advanced anti-poaching technology that would guarantee them a 99% safe ‘rhino friendly’ zone, they are therefore looking for a donor or donors that can partner with them so that they can purchase the equipment needed to secure the property. Please contact or visit the Sibuya Rhino Foundation page for more information in this regard.