For the first time since this horrendous ordeal began, Themba showed us some real signs of progress this afternoon. He is much more alert than he has been and although he is still not taking weight on his leg, he gave us a good rev when we tried to assess his condition at close range. It was wonderful! We had planned to treat him today so he would have a 2 day break before his next surgery session. However, after finding him in a well grassed hollow next to a water hole that he has been drinking from we decided to let him be just as he is. He passed a good amount of dung which confirms he is eating something but I am still not convinced its enough. He has plastered his face full of mud so that the holes into his head are completely blocked by mud today.
In an effort to try show you the extent of the damage to his skull Larry Witmer from WitmerLab at Ohio University has produced an amazing graphic for us with the help of his assistant Ryan Ridgely. I had seen some of Larry's work in a rhino paper before and when I approached him he responded instantly to my request for help. His whole lab have got behind this story which we are very grateful for. I will be posting more of his images in subsequent reports as they highlight the extent of the complications that these animals are facing. You will see from the diagram that the poachers have hacked through his skull and into the cavity below which is in turn connected to a labyrinth of passages and air spaces inside his skull. Let's pray that Thembas noticeable improvement today keeps on moving in the right direction.
Thandi continues to be very mobile and isn't showing herself much but all indications remain positive for her apart from her face which we know will be a long, drawn out recovery. We will do all we can to try and prevent complications for them and we so appreciate the growing army of caring rhino campaigners out there who have shown support for these two magnificent ambassadors of the living dinosaurs.We cannot be the generation that is responsible for their extinction. It is simply NOT and option.