Day 10 for Thandi and Themba. Thandi spent a lot of time after her procedure yesterday out on the plains grazing like a healthy rhino which is quite remarkable. The inclusion of the sedative drug in the dart which we hope causes short-term amnesia is an interesting consideration here as her behaviour does not match her circumstances.
Themba has only been in the open during the night thus far and is obviously in a different psychological space to Thandi.
Today we have the invaluable assistence of tracking bracelets on both rhino after the Chipembere Foundation sourced and donated them to this cause. These devices are a vital part of a treatment strategy in the wild as they allow the Kariega monitoring team to keep check of their progress at any time of the day. The technology also indicates if the device is stationery or moving. Without this improved monitoring capacity we will not be able to respond quickly to changes in their circumstances.
Report from Daniel and Lance is that Themba is more alert than in previous days. He is still in the thickets but is definately grazing. We cannot confirm water intake today yet. Thandi is on the edge of the stream and has been seen through the night grazing well.
It appears that they have come through the procedures yesterday as well as we can expect which is good news. We have started processing the video material of the first nine days and believe me, I constantly question my own decisions as these images remind me of all they have come through. Many people will ask why these gentle giants should be allowed go through this painful healing process at all. Only time will tell if I have made the right decision or not concerning their wellfare and the responsibility of this will be mine to answer for. While we fight with them for the return of their comfortable lives at Kariega, everyone reading this has the opportunity to fight for the life, dignity and respect which this entire species deserves.
I urge you to expose the brutal reality of poaching to the world by sharing the story of Themba and Thandi. What we do for them on the ground will only make a fraction of a difference in the battle to save a species. What YOU do for them by telling the world or their senseless sufferings and their brave fight for survival WILL make a difference to the plight of the rhino. Whether we win or loose the battle to save the rhino will be a measure of how much we value this species and a clear indication of our desire to protect all species in our care.