Sadness as another rhino killed by poachers
I always have to wonder how poachers locate rhinos at night so easily, as finding them on a daily basis can sometimes be a real challenge. There is nothing more rewarding than finding them safe and well.
Our deepest sympathy to Mount Camdeboo in the Karoo region of South Africa on the death of the rhino, Split Horn. The rhino was poached for its magnificent horn on the night Saturday, 8 November 2014. The current South African statistics are shocking with over 980 rhino already killed for their horn in 2014.
Thandi the rhino survivor update
Thandi has been on great form although a little grumpy towards the bull. Wow this rhino can growl! You can hear her from afar. The bull certainly knows his place in this crash of rhino and it is most certainly at the bottom. I wonder how many men can relate?
Many people ask when Thandi is going to calve - a very hard question to answer. We have to remember that Thandi is a wild animal. We have only run one blood test on her and scanning a rhino with its thick skin is out of the question! Although the blood test showed that her hormone levels indicated she was in her 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy in late 2013, we have to leave it up to nature to take its course. It is very hard to visually see if a rhino is pregnant, especially in Thandi’s case as she is in super condition. A rhino calf weighs around 35-40 kg at birth and as its mother is 2,500kg plus, seeing something that small is tough! Rhinos also only start to produce milk very close to their calving date so looking for changes in her udder is also difficult. Thus confirming her pregnancy and due date is nigh impossible. We need to sit and wait it out and hope everything will go well. The beginning of December is a few weeks away and we think it may be later before we see Thandi with a calf at foot.
Discussing rhino conservation with Kariega volunteers
It was deja vu when I went across to Ocean View, the house where the Kariega Conservation Volunteers live, the other day. The last time I was there was two years ago but it only literally felt like two weeks. I always find it inspiring and rewarding talking to people who are not aware of the real situation that hangs over us every day with keeping rhinos safe. I told them the story of Thandi, Themba and Bull 84 who were poached here on the 2 March 2012 and how I helped with some of their early treatments. Showing them footage of Dr William Fowlds tribute to Themba and a 3 minute video on the War against Poaching, really hits it home about what rhinos endure on a daily basis. I then went on to tell them about how it inspired me to do what I do now and how they too can help in the fight for rhinos. By the end of my talk there was hardly a dry eye in the room. Afterwards the volunteers and I debated on all sorts of rhino related issues, should rhino horn be legalised or not? To de-horn or not to de-horn? Anti-Poaching strategies and more. It’s fantastic to hear other people’s views on subjects that are vital to the future of the rhinos. I know for sure that the volunteers will see Thandi in a different light and understand her story more. I look forward to speaking to each new cycle of Kariega Conservation Volunteers during my time here.
Joining an Eastern Cape Safari drive
Earlier this year I took my Level 1 FGASA (Field Guide Association South Africa) qualification, the first step to being a field guide or ranger. I was so excited to jump on board for a game drive with Ryan de Beer, soon to be head ranger at the new Settlers Drift Luxury Tented Lodge. It was fantastic to meet his guests from England and Germany and watch their expressions as they heard and saw so much interesting stuff out in the bush.
Within 10 minutes of being on the drive I had already learnt so much about those Animal Shaped Objects (ASO’s) that you see all over the bush - also known as termite mounds! I always enjoyed talking about those little orange creatures when out on my training drives, and now I have even more information to add! The drive got even better as we trekked through the bush to find freshwater crab claws from an otter’s night-time feast and how elephant dung can be a good relief for headaches.
We later joined the ranger Matt at a sighting that seriously blew my mind. Never before have I been that close to elephants! They casually walked up the track towards us rumbling, grumbling and tucking into prickly pears as they came to investigate what we humans were up to. We sat very quietly and in total awe of these enormous animals. It’s a sighting you can never tire from and certainly will never forget.
Angie's Conservation Diary is the personal account of rhino conservationist and Kariega intern Angie Goody. Angie usually lives in the Isle of Man and has been running her own own beef and sheep farm for 18 years. Probably the best way to describe her is a person who is passionate and devoted to saving rhinos! Read more about Angie Goody and find all of Angie's posts on our blog. You can also subscribe to our blog updates via email.