Thandi's progression back into normal rhino society has been set back by a facial injury that will require surgical intervention.
When Thandi and two other rhino were poached at Kariega Game Reserve in March 2012, both male rhino in her crash died of their injuries. As part of a number of steps in her rehabilitation back to some degree of normality, it was important to restore the breeding capacity by bringing in a new male to replace Themba and bull #84. Following the recent re-introduction of a male rhino into Thandi's habitat, her progression back into normal rhino life received a set back when her face was badly injured.
Suspicions lie with the new bull as head to head confrontation is part of normal rhino behaviour. It is likely that this resulted in Thandi’s face being injured. This is very distressing for her, for those who care for her and all who follow her progress.
Its been more than 14 months since Thandi was poached and to think we are still having to deal with the complications of her ordeal is a reminder to us of yet another implication of poaching. In spite of our best efforts to restore her face to some degree of normal functionality, it appears that her new skin simply didn't have the capacity to deal with the rigors of rhino life.
Her injuries were assessed on 11 June 2013 and the original team of consultants continues to put their heads together and implement a treatment plan for her. As always she will get the best attention as we bring together a team of passionate specialists to attend to her.
Graeme Rushmere, co-owner of Kariega commented, “We are all saddened by Thandi’s injury. We will continue to ensure that she receives the best care possible and are so grateful to Dr Will Fowlds and our Kareiga team for their expertise and commitment to Thandi’s ongoing care and wellbeing.”
Dr Will Fowlds, of Investec Rhino Lifeline added, "Thandi has already taught us so much about poaching related injuries, which we are now starting to apply across the country to other victims. It appears there is still much to learn about integrating survivors back into normal rhino society. The tragedy of her story continues as we now progress into the lows of surgery once again following the highs of seeing her doing so well and how beautifully her face had recovered."