Rhino Poaching DAY 4 - 11h30

05Mar
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Monday morning we flew with the chopper, found the female and immobilised her. Her body appears to be recovering well but her facial injuries are worse than they appear from a distance. There is an area 30cm long and 15cm wide of exposed hacked skull and gaping holes into the underlying sinuses.The infection has already set in and maggots have started in the crevices left behind by the panga lesions. We cut away as much dead tissue as possible but there is still an area of bony tissue that will need removing probably at a later stage. An application of medical tar will sort the maggots out but there is a long road ahead for this poor lady. Her fighting spirit is humbling to witness as her face depicts such utter shame on humanity. The whole team were deeply moved by this horrendous experience and the bravery if this soul. The bulls state is not good. For the first time we were able to do a hands on evaluation of his leg. The only thing standing between life and death is that he is placing his foot when he walks as apposed to dragging it as he was yesterday. There is some blood getting through to his foot but there are large areas of his left back leg that have little or no blood supply. Over all the swelling is slightly improved. We have applied a full dose of anti-inflammatories and a broad spectrum antibiotic as well as supportive treatment to his face, vitamins and fluids. It was heartbreaking to see him struggling to his feet as the anaesthetic drugs reversed, knowing that he still has so much to endure. A decision to euthanase him was considered but has been delayed on the strength of some positives and a clear will to live. His life, sadly hangs in the balance.

Will Fowlds

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