“It is still too early to talk of a positive prognosis but every good day takes us another step away from a tragic ending,” says Dr William Fowlds of Investec Rhino Lifeline who is heading up the rhino treatment team.
Fifteen days after a poaching incident at Schotia Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, it has been revealed that the two rhino were darted with illegally acquired veterinary drugs.
Both rhino, named Bonnie and Clyde, had their horns removed during a sophisticated poaching operation. The incident was reported on 30 May after rangers at the reserve located the two missing rhino who were found hiding in thick bush. It is suspected that they had been darted and left for dead by the poachers after their horns were sawn off.
According to the treatment team, Bonnie and Clyde have both suffered internal tissue damage as a result of the overdose. The veterinary team working with the animals is highly concerned about Clyde, the bull, as tests showed that he could be in danger of incurring further organ damage, and possibly even liver and kidney failure.
A dedicated team is monitoring the pair and taking down detailed recordings of their progress. The team have also managed to coerce Clyde into taking daily doses of an anti-inflammatory liquid treatment added to a lucerne supplement.
“The risks of repeated anaesthetics in order to treat Clyde with injectable drugs was considered too high, and so other forms of medication had to be considered,” says Dr Fowlds.
“This formulation is registered for use in horses but appears to be effective in rhino as well. Both rhino seem to be doing very well under the circumstances. Clyde still has damage to his right eye which may yet require attention, but we are trying to handle them as little as possible during this delicate phase of their recovery.”
In spite of all they have been though, both rhino appear to be doing remarkably well.
Anyone with information on poaching activities can contact the Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative Hotline on: 0786969494.