Co-Pro Brokering +44(0)7812 084448
Distribution +44 (0) 7968 378526
More than half a century ago, Mike Condy and his three siblings arrived home from school to find a rather unusual pet nestled in the corner of the family cowshed. It was a month-old black rhinoceros, saved during a pioneering wildlife rescue operation on the world’s largest man-made lake - Kariba - in modern-day Zimbabwe. Taken in by the children’s father, wildlife vet Dr John Condy, ‘Rupert’ the rhino was given board and lodgings in the country’s capital for the next six months. The family’s eight-acre property became the little rhino’s territory, and Rupert would doze off each evening in front of the TV, surrounded by his adopted siblings.
With the help of his wife, Joan, and his four children, John Condy set about raising the orphaned rhino, feeding Rupert on milk from a bottle. Nothing like it had ever been attempted; in 1960s Africa the species was considered the ‘Devil of the Bush’, not to be messed with under any circumstances. But with careful consideration of the animal’s diet and the provision of a loving home, the family did their best to bring Rupert up a well-rounded rhino with a shot at life in the wild.
By the age of 7 months, Rupert had tripled in size and simply had become too big to handle. Released into the bush with another survivor of the rescue operation, he appeared to thrive. But three years later, Rupert’s body was found. The cause of death was unknown, and has never been discovered. Fifty years later, the children are searching for clues to their childhood friend's fate.
This programme is part of a 4 part-series called "My Wild Affair", which tells extraordinary stories of the bonds between humans and their animal companions, including an orphaned baby elephant, an orangutan raised as a human child, and a harbor seal that entered the human world but remained wild at heart.
- Episode Title : The Rhino Who Joined the Family
- Format : 1 x 60'
- Production company : Blink Films and Newroad Media
- Year of production : 2013
- Commissioning channels : PBS, Animal Planet Canada, Discovery, SBS Australia