1 killed, but 2 survived
Nearly 11 months ago, a ranger radioed the head of the anti poaching unit on an un-named reserve in South Africa, to ask if the rhinos had been de-horned as he had spotted a rhino without a horn. The anti-poaching unit stepped in, and found that 3 rhinos had been darted by poachers and de-horned. Miraculously, although 1 bull was killed, the remaining 2 rhino cows survived.
The horns had been neatly cut off with a chainsaw, but this left the animals’ sinus canals open and exposed, posing a massive threat.
Where do the rhinos go to heal?
The 2 rhino cows were moved to the Cheetah & Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Centre, so that they could keep a close eye on them, assist with the treatment procedures, and reduce costs in helicopter fees, which would have been required to conduct aerial searches for them.
It has been an epic journey for these 2 surviving rhinos since then, with a huge amount of support, knowledge and research to take care of these 2 amazing animals – both by the Cheetah & Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Centre and Saving the Survivors.
What now, for Lion’s Den and Dingle Dell?
The smaller rhino cow, Dingle Dell, has now completely healed. The larger rhino cow, Lion’s Den, whose wound was much more severe, has taken much longer to improve.
These two animals were the first rhinos in the world to ever receive skin transplants.
They have both had a number of operations and treatments to close these cavities with a fiberglass cast, which covered the entire nasal area. Although the cast did the job, it causes irritation to the rhinos, who eventually rubbed it off, by rubbing against tough trees.
Last month, the head curator Christo, noticed that the cover was coming off the older rhino’s wound and immediately scheduled another treatment, to prevent damage to the open wound.
After darting the rhino cow, and giving her a local anaesthetic, the wound was rinsed with water, and a proper examination was done. The healing of the wound is improving, and the central portion of the open wound is growing smaller. Nasal mucosa (granulation tissue from the sinus canals) is building up inside the wound and hindering the healing process.
This excess nasal mucosa was completely removed, to allow healing tissue to continue growing. Slow-release calcium alginate wads were placed into the wound together with an antibiotic powder. After covering the wound with medicated paraffin gauze, the team dropped their tools as it was time to turn Lion’s Den onto her other side.
This is done every 20 to 25 minutes to ensure that the rhino has efficient blood-flow to her legs.
After the cast was fitted, the Lion’s Den woke up again. And again, everyone is humbled by the fact that this amazing animal pulled through yet another procedure without any complications.
We are confident that she will heal completely in the next few months.
Do Something Amazing – come and volunteer at the Cheetah & Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Centre, and play your part in helping these surviving rhinos, and other endangered wildlife.