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Rhino Poaching DAY 5 - 19h00

Jone Haesslich
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The weather has been mild today which is good for both rhino. The female has not revealed herself and the monitoring team lead by Lance and Jason have not bothered her today. The bull is still moving around in the fringes of the thicket and has not been seen grazing which is of concern. The leg swelling is slightly improved and he is still placing his leg well but we can't confirm any definite weight bearing on the damaged leg. The distance and topography of the ground he has covered has surprised us moving up quite steep slopes along the way. He is alert and although he let's us get quite close, he is also prepared to mock charge when he feels threatened. We have repeated the anti-inflammatory today to keep him as comfortable as possible (using drop-out darts) and the team will watch him tonight from a distance in the hope that we can confirm if he is eating or not. He has moved too far away from the original wallow and won't take water from the baths that have been put out. There is a water hole a few hundred meters away and he is familiar with his surroundings so pray he takes water soon. His face is clean with some serous oozing. His right eye is still clouded over which is limiting vision on that side. While Mike and I crouched 7 meters from him in a small opening in the valley thicket for more than 10 minutes I couldn't help feeling that this animal understands something about what we are trying to do for him. How can we possibly comprehend how confused he must be. Its times like these that remind me how little we understand about them. There is a side to rhino that's as soft as the mewing call they make. I used to think that it didn't match the animal but as time passes I am starting to think that its more than likely spot-on.