A black rhino from Namibia who was suffering from colic has made a recovery with a diet of Fibre-Beet, a type of horse feed.
The rhino, called Baba, came to Kuzikus Wildlife Reserve in Omaheke, Namibia in 2012 as a four-month old orphan. He was taken in by horse trainer Nichola Reinhard and her husband, Berend.
Baba, now four years old, was hand-reared and recently reintroduced to the park. He was fending for himself, but bullying from other rhinos caused Baba to lose a great deal of weight. He was forced off the good grazing areas and eating the wrong plants caused him to colic.
Baba came back to the sanctuary himself, and the team realised they had to act fast to save him and called the vet.
Together they made a plan of slowly getting food back into him and building up his condition to avoid further colicing, which is when Nichola thought to try Fibre-Beet.
Nichola said: “I made up a bucket of Fibre-Beet mixed with Speedi-Beet and some game pellets. I showed the vet, who hadn’t heard of the feed before, but after checking the ingredients she agreed it was fine for him to eat.
"Rhinos are actually related to the horse and have similar digestive systems - both can suffer from colic.
“So, over the next few days I was feeding little but often feeds of Fibre-Beet mixed with game pellets and a probiotic.
"This is all he was eating and he could barely stand up. We even had to pour water over his head to wake him up to eat every hour or so, but the Fibre-Beet kept him going, and most importantly kept the digestive system moving and slowly built up his energy so he could eat browse again - the main source of food for black rhinos.
"It took us three days of this kind of feeding to get him going again, but it worked and now he's eating all around him, just a bit on the skinny side but looking much better already.
“The reason I knew to feed him like this is because the trail riding horses we have here suffer when we have drought, and often get colic because they eat the wrong things when there isn’t much grass around.
"One of our horses had the same problem as Baba last year and I also fed him this way when he coliced. I honestly think the fact I had the Fibre-Beet is what really saved him. If I didn’t have it the horse at least would have died and the rhino would not have recovered so quickly.”
Will I’Anson of British Horse Feeds said: “We are so pleased to hear Nichola’s story about Baba the rhino. Fibre-Beet and Speedi-Beet are both suitable to feed to horses with colic and can help with digestive issues. We wish Baba a speedy recovery and hope he’s out and about in the reserve soon.”
A Super-Fibre conditioning feed, Fibre-Beet is a formulated blend containing all the benefits of the original Speedi-Beet product, with added high-quality Alfalfa for optimum condition and to provide quality protein for muscle tone and function.
Fibre-Beet is a carefully designed blend of highly degradable fibre sources that provide optimum fermentation patterns to help keep the digestive system healthy.
High levels of pectins and surfactants can help maintain the mucus linings of the gut whilst the structural fibre absorbs excess stomach acid - helping combat the conditions for ulceration and other stress symptoms.
Fibre-Beet is fermented to produce high levels of butyric acid, which aids the function of the cells of the gut wall, and low levels of lactic acid, making it an ideal alkaline feed. With an effective degradability 50% higher than forage fibre, Fibre-Beet can improve energy intake whilst keeping dietary fibre levels at an optimum.
Fibre-Beet also provides a good range of minerals, trace elements and amino acids and it has a low sugar content.