All is very well in Apollo’s world. As you know, he celebrated his second birthday in March, and while the milestone was lost on him, we all continue to marvel at how far he has come.
Apollo was rescued when he was just six months old, so the majority of his life has been spent in our care. We will continue to be there for him until he is ready to reclaim his place in the wild, providing guidance and support every step of the way.
However, that day is still a long way off. For now, Apollo remains completely hooked on his Keepers. If there was any doubt in the matter, the chorus of happy squeaks he emits when he hears them approaching confirms the fact: Apollo views his Keepers not as humans, but as family. Of course, this level of trust does not extend to all people. Apollo is very standoffish towards any other two-legged visitors who enter his orbit, which is exactly how it should be.
It is still very hot and dry in this corner of Tsavo, so Apollo has been a little more sedate. During cooler months, he enthusiastically zips around Kaluku, but at the moment, he is all about browsing and conserving energy. This downshift in activity works well for the Keepers, too, as it is far too hot to be chasing after a lively young rhino!
Instead, Apollo spends leisurely hours in the mud bath, swathing his body in the cool earth. His Keepers always indulge him with the full spa treatment, slathering him with shovelfuls of mud from head to toe. Apollo goes into a delighted trance during this routine, moving only to free up a new corner of skin to be coated. During a few mud baths, he was very distracted by the presence of some nearby baboons. Even after they disappeared from sight, he knew they were in the area and kept leaping to his feet to catch their scent in the air.
It takes some orphans longer than others to settle down for the night, but Apollo always goes to bed right away. He loves his new “big boy” stockade — but he doesn’t make much use of all the space it affords! Rhinos are creatures of habit, so Apollo immediately established a sleeping area within his stockade. Sometimes he spends a few minutes munching on the pile of freshly cut greens, but usually he eagerly makes a beeline for his designated “bed.” Now that he’s outgrown his mattress phase, he lays down sideways on the soft earth, lulled to sleep by the nocturnal chirps and trills of Tsavo.