During the night Themba moved about 350 meters and was found lying up in a good area. There are obvious signs of him having grazed during the night and we are not going to disturb him today for treatment. Full assessment will be done tomorrow under anesthetic.
Part of the treatment progression during this 1st week has been to cross-reference as much as possible to ensure we are doing all we can for them. I have had daily conversations with other vets around the country who have had to treat survivors of poaching. Success has been very mixed and there is no one protocol out there to follow as every situation is so different. Sadly if we consider the escalation in poaching with 8 more animals added to the death toll yesterday alone bringing the 2012 total to108, I anticipate that we will have to deal with more and more of these traumatised animals. We would all like to believe that the illegal availability of the opioid drugs they are using has dried up which, sadly,may result in poachers using as little as possible to achieve their barbaric goals. If this becomes a trend, more of these animals will survive the mutilation and hence it is so vitally important that we learn from every experience and improve our levels or care and treatment wherever we can.
Cindy Harper (DNA specialist working on the rhino crisis) said in the NBC News programme "The Rhino's Last Stand" aired in the USA two weeks ago,"These are not things. They are living beings that we can connect to. We care about them, each and every one of them".