“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Poaching has made it a priority to save every rhino possible.This means even the most violently injured poaching victims receive the utmost in care; with veterinary staff leaving no stone unturned in their journey to heal and rehabilitate them.
In the July of 2013 the miracle survivor, Thandi underwent a groundbreaking plastic surgery to help repair her gaping wound left from poaching. Four years later, she is mostly recovered, but still experiences her wound opening from time to time.
Never anticipating a rhino could miraculously survive such an attack, it happened yet again with a cow named Hope. This time, this rhino literally lost more than half of her face.
With such a daunting task ahead of them, the veterinary staff constantly strive to find solutions to her recovery. Here is the latest report on Hope from Saving the Survivors:
The wound healing is not progressing as fast as we would like. As you are all aware we have given her a break from the long anaesthetics to give her system time to recover.
Because the healing rate has slowed, we have been in contact with a biotechnology company to explore the various possibilities with regards her healing. To keep it simple (not too sciencey) we are looking at using collagen sheets inserted into the living tissue of the wound to create a wound matrix onto which cells can grow so we can start closing the cavity.
It will most probably be very costly but it is worth every cent if it means we can give this iconic young lady quality of life and long happy healthy future – we owe that to her.
We are still looking at our best options for this very special rhino girl. What we can say with some certainty is that she is mostly pain-free. We hope to have more news for you in the next couple of weeks.
The process of treating these endangered giants has grown from simple bandaging to research, testing and pushing the limits of human creativity. Whether successfully achieving the delicate process of skin grafting or engineering the perfect rhino-proof shield; it is a testament to our determination in saving the species.