One Thursday night, in February, between 10h30 and 11h00, two gun shots were heard by the anti-poaching guard up at the tower on the northern fence line. Our anti-poaching head went out to investigate and found that the fence were cut… and that could just mean just one thing poachers were in again! A couple of the guides also went out on patrol to see if they could catch the poachers, but unfortunately had no success.
The following morning a blood trail was seen and followed to where two rhinos lay. A helicopter was called in, with a medical team, and the darting operation began
On inspection one was a male about 7 years of age and he had been shot in the face. The bullet entered just under the right eye and exited below the left eye. He was still alive but the eye was already white which means that he could be blind in that eye. X-rays were taken to determine any internal injuries as well. It was decided that this bull needed go to an unknown location where he can get the necessary treatment to aid his recovery. This bull has been named ‘Tlotlo’ which means respect
The second rhino, a young bull around 2 years old, was found quickly and darted. He had been shot in the leg, luckily with only a flesh wound, and X-rays showed that there was no bone damage. The bullet had left the body. He was treated with antibiotics and a collar was placed on this back leg to track him and monitor his recovery. He has been named him ‘Keitumetse’ which means ‘I am thankful’ in Setswana.
Once all the work was done the young lad was woken up and released to go his own way. He was reunited with his family about 30 minutes later, and has been seen since and doing very well.
We want to thank all the parties involved on Saturday, including Dr Gerard Steenkamp, Maxillo-facial specialist from Saving the Surviviors, and Dr Gerhardus Scheepers, Veterinarian from Zodiac.
This is the second time Black Rhino has been targeted this year and the battle is still being fought to try and stop the brutal killing of our rhinos. We need all the help we can get and it is up to us to protect them. Buffalo Thorn Lodge contributes to the Black Rhino Animal Protection Unit (APU), but if anyone wants to make a donation or would like to get involved in a rhino darting, please contact Jacques at the Lodge… firstname.lastname@example.org and he will supply all the relevant information.
Our grateful thanks go to all the Rangers/APU members helping with this fight, in Pilanesberg and Black Rhino, to save these magnificent animals