Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is prevention better than cure? The rhino wars

How do you prevent this...

Or this...

or these...

from becoming one of these?

First you need a sign

A vet

a helicopter

in order to dart the Rhino from the air. Less stressful for the animal and it can be more easily controlled so that it will go down in an area that is safe for both the animal and the team.

a quick acting ground crew to arrive to make sure that Spencer(22) goes down correctly and with the least stress.

many hands to try to control the now sleeping beast

and this is what the team is trying to protect

the posterior horn being filled with marker die

in order to reduce stress, Rhino sized ear plugs

the team are about to roll the animal over

drilling into the anterior horn to fit the transmitter

the second of three holes that had to be drilled in this horn

For me, this was the moment when I knew something was not going to plan.There seemed to be a sadness in this image

Healing hands?

The entire procedure was over in less than an hour. Unfortunately for the rhino, he never recovered from the anesthetic and he died on the scene.A postmortem has already been carried out, but at the time of writing I do not have confirmation as to the cause of death.
 Dr Charles van Niekerk, the wildlife vet in charge, has issued the following statement:
“The postmortem supported by laboratory tests indicate that abnormal heart, liver and kidney conditions contributed towards the death of the rhino while immobilized.  Each of these lesions on their own would not have been uncommon in a rhino of this age, however, cumulatively they would compromise the health of the rhino.  Poisoning as a cause of death has been specifically ruled out by toxicology tests done at Onderstepoort. The presence of body fat would indicate that, despite these underlying conditions, the rhino was eating well and in good condition, thus making it difficult to identify these processes on visual inspection of the animal.  Any immobilization puts the body under stress exacerbating underlying pathology.  A lung odeoma was found during the postmortem which is also typically associated with the immobilization process.”

Why do we have to put healthy rhino through stressful and potentially dangerous procedures?
This is why: http://www.davidbatzofin.com/2011/11/ugly-side-of-illegal-rhino-poaching.html

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