Kariega Game Reserve pays tribute on one year anniversary of poached rhino‘s death & celebrates a feisty lady.
Monday, 25 March, Kariega Game Reserve held a tribute to commemorate the death of one of three rhinos poached just over a year ago.
This anniversary is particularly important in light of the plethora of rhino fund-raising and other projects it has inspired worldwide. Dr William Fowlds, of Investec Rhino Lifeline, tended to all three of the rhinos last year. He said: “The impact that this one poaching incident made on global awareness continues to grow more than a year later. The incredible story of Thandi’s amazing recovery from this incident continues to fuel public passion for this species and motivates people from far flung places to get actively involved in helping to save the rhino. As the only survivor, her story of sheer determination and will to survive represents hope in the face of hopelessness. This story stands as testimony to the worst and the best of human attitudes towards animals. Despite the brutality ofthis crime and the obvious greed that drives poachers to act in this way, this tragic event has taught us a lot about treating survivors and even more about how much we care for every single one.”
Alan Weyer, GM of Kariega Game Reserve, added, “When we discovered our poached rhino, Kariega Game Reserve took a conscious decision to publicise the events as they unfolded as much as possible to create awareness of the terrible brutality of rhino poaching. We are extremely grateful to Dr Fowlds’ for his contribution to rhino conservation, and his initiative is supported by Kariega. We have been overwhelmed with public support as a result of this incident. “
Thandi’s original injury
On 2 March 2012, three rhino were poached at Kariega. Dr William Fowlds, well-known wildlifeveterinary surgeon, was called to the scene to find two bulls and a cow affected. The older bull had died, and the young bull and cow were still alive. Dr Fowlds, along with his team, tended to these two rhino with assistance provided by Chipembere Rhino Foundation, which donated tracking and GPS satellite collars so that these animals could be located on an hourly basis. Themba, the young bull, survived for 24 days but finally lost his fight forlife on 25 March. Thandi, the only femaie, survived. Her struggle to overcome her injuries beating all the odds, and her remarkable recovery has made her a beacon of hope for her species. Team Kariega, along with Dr William Fowlds, issued daily blogs, sharing the treatment progress and the ups and downs for an increasing number of followers. Because of this much good came out of telling this sad story to convey the reality about modern poaching.
Treatment in progress with the help of human facial surgeons
The story was followed by media and readers around the world, not only creating an awareness aboutwhat was happening to rhinos in Africa, but it mobilized individuals to respond in their own way.
Some examples of initiatives that come out of this incident include the Rhino Run, a South African national trail run held on World Rhino Day, the Rooting-for-Rhino Challenge, a Facebook site encouraging schools to form, photograph and upload their own “human rhino” image, uniting against rhino poaching. Creating awareness and raising funds for the protection of rhino via the Chipembere, Rhino Foundation in support of Dr Fowlds’ survivor rehabilitation via Wilderness Foundation and Bongi’s Quest for conservation education.
The surge in rhino poaching has continued into 2013 and current statistics reflect that already over 160 rhinos have been lost to poaching to date!