Four rhinos were injured by bullet shots during an unsuccessful poaching attempt in the Elandela Private Game Reserve near Hoedspruit last week. We are happy to announce that they escaped with their horns and lives intact.
This is primarily due to the great efforts undertaken by the reserve in collaboration with Investec Rhino Lifeline, the Chipembere Rhino Foundation and the Wilderness Foundation’s ‘Forever Wild – Rhino Protection Initiative’.
The three NGOs were approached to help treat and care for the four wounded animals, most of which had fortunately only suffered relatively minor injuries. The request mobilised a team of doctors and conservationists who joined forces to assist in the animals’ urgent medical treatment.
Into the bush
An extensive response plan has since been put into action to give the four rhinos the best chance of a fast recovery.
In an effort to find and dart the animals by helicopter, Rogers and his team managed to track down the rhino called ‘Swagman’. Once the colossal pachyderm had been safely darted, Hugo Truter and Rai Landau from Med Tec joined in with their mobile x-ray equipment. This state-of-the-art technology gives wildlife vets a real chance to diagnose underlying problems that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Although he will be in pain for a while, Swagman is a lucky rhino as his injury didn’t require surgery and should heal itself with time. After six months of planning and fundraising, the Elandela Private Game Reserve and its collaborators are now able to send their medical team to meet injured rhinos in their hour of greatest need.
Africa Geographic’s science editor Tim Jackson will be on his way to Hoedspruit this weekend to follow up on two of the other rhinos, who suffered spine injuries when they were shot. Stay tuned for an update!