Rhino Thandi & Themba DAY 17 - 17h00

18Mar
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Jason and the rest of the Kariega monitoring effort report that Themba has moved about 750 meters over the past 24 hours, has drunk well and is passing large amounts of dung which confirms the amount of intake the tracking team have observed. His leg status is unchanged and there is possibly more opaque discharge today than what we have seen before which could be an ominous indicator of our struggle against infection. So he appears to be holding his own for now but we will have to watch his leg wounds carefully over the next 48 hours for signs of deterioration, indicating the state of tissues under the skin.

Rangers have reported that Thandi has been seen grazing and behaving "normally" yesterday evening and she has moved about five km's since then so her situation remains positive.

Today, I will not be of any direct assistance to Themba or Thandi as the Kariega team will do all that is required. But today is another day we will lose more rhino and so I choose to do something else. The awareness campaign occupies most of my time when I am not directly involved with rhino and I ask myself the question every single day, "what is it that I can do to make a positive difference today". Every one of us has a network of people and a set of skills we can consider involving in this struggle. I have had the honour of working intermittently with Braam Malherbe on the ground from day 3 of this ordeal. Braam symbolises the concept of DOT "do one thing" which he encourages at every opportunity and it is a powerful way of getting things done. We cannot be intimidated by the Goliath's that threaten us or our fears will be paralysing. Braam, more than anyone I have met has undertaken huge physical and mental challenges for conservation causes and by example he demonstrates what man is capable when we get out of our comfort zones and decide we can. He has run the Great wall of China and recently returned from a successful expedition to the South Pole representing our magnificent country. The lesson for me is that everything he achieves can only be done through one step followed by another. Meter by meter, there is no other way so today I chose to take another step for the Rhino. Today, I do something simple, I sort out my photos. Not earth shattering but it is one step closer to the presentation I might deliver in a week or months time. As I do so, they scream out a message of blood, pain,horror and brutality which brings the tears flooding back. They won't save one life today, but if I listen to what this experience is telling me, and I manage the simple things that I have at my disposal, they may end up being the most powerful tools I will ever have in MY fight to save the rhino.

Will Fowlds

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