Rhino Thandi & Themba DAY 20 - 19h00

21Mar
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News from the Kariega team today is that Themba has moved over four hundred meters he has drunk well but is not eating as well as we had hoped. Levels of concern fluctuate between medium to high . This morning he hadn't moved much and seemed to have taken his session yesterday quite badly but this afternoon he seems a little improved. Some fluid has come from the drainage holes in his leg overnight.

Comments from Prof Reyers warn of the possibility of liver infection. We are not in a position to be able to do a liver scan or other diagnostic tests to confirm what could be happening in his liver but we do know that his injuries are placing this organ under a lot of strain. Intensifying his anti-bioitc treatment would require even more regular immobilisations than we are currently risking as we don't have other long acting treatment options to move onto.

Thandi is moving around well but is hiding up in the thickets and we have not been able to get images of her face for several days. The tracking teams are reporting a slight smell which may also indicate that infection is building up in her facial wounds. It has been 6 days since her last treatment and I was hoping to be able to extend her treatment intervals after the previous assessment. Once we can get more visual information regarding her face, we will make a decision re her.

Today Paul Mills, who has given an enormous amount of his time and expertise to this process, has posted the video footage of Thandi's treatment session on day 4. Reviewing these images and reliving some of those emotions is heart wrenching, all over again.

My mind seems to have chosen to forget how many loose pieces of skin and hanging bone we had to remove from her face and how deep and random the gashes were. All that precious tissue that now needs rebuilding is absolutely useless to poachers anyway. In fact it is probably a risk for them as it needs to be disposed of somewhere before the horn gets passed onto the next criminal in the greed chain.

Such is the degree of lust for this horn that they will not risk leaving the smallest fragment of it behind and so they butcher extra inches of living, feeling flesh away in carrying out their monstrous deeds.

What will you and I do today to help stop this cruel onslaught. What weapons do we have to fight this war. Today, the whole team of dedicated, caring, rhino passionate people give you the undeniable truth of visual images that transend language and culture. How effective this weapon is depends on how far and wide you are prepared to spread it. While we struggle to bring an end to their suffering, we ask that you keep these images alive in the eyes of the world because today at least one other rhino went through this hell and tomorrow there will probably be more.

Will Fowlds

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