Posts Tagged With: Survival

Tragedy to Triumph

Three years ago an evil atrocity fell upon the Kariega Game Reserve, as Thandi, Themba and a third rhino were mercilessly hacked by poacher’s axes.

thandi before

Today we bear witness to nothing short of miraculous.  As we celebrate the life of Thandi and her daughter, we also remember Themba and the tireless dedication of the staff surrounding them.

Thandi and Thembi 3-2

Now Kariega has announced, the little one has been most appropriately named- Thembi, meaning hope. Was there really any other choice?

 

For more on Thandi, try our new SEARCH function to see previous stories.

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Most (Un)Lucky Rhino

Phila at zoo in jo-burg
Most rhino lovers have heard the story of Thandi by now. She is an amazing being with a zest for life, a survivor. She is the ambassador of rhinos everywhere, a symbol of hope in the poaching wars. But there is another lesser known rhino who has an extraordinary
tale of survival as well. In fact she survived not just once, but twice. Her name is Phila.
Phila has been shot nine times over two poaching attempts. She was relocated twice, and currently resides at a zoo in Johannesburg, as this was the last place thought secure enough for her. Even after the attempts and relocations, there is still a bounty on her life.
Doomed to a life of confinement, and enduring permanent pain from the wounds, she carries on. But at what cost?  What remains ahead for Phila? Will she ever have a future that is wild AND safe?
For more on Phila, see her amazing tale on Saving Rhino Phila, an award winning documentary.
Here she is at the Johannesburg Zoo: 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hope Floats

Christmas is a time to believe in miracles; a time of hope, faith and love. Please carry that with you as you go forth and spread the word about the war on poaching. Rhinos and elephants are poached at an alarming rate (2 a day for rhinos and 80 a day for elephants), and their future is uncertain. But, they are still here. And while they fight to survive, we must fight for them.

If little Ntombi had the courage to fight the poachers away from her mom, then the determination to fight for survival after those same poachers turned on her with machete attacks, who are we not to keep fighting for her? (Ntombi’s story)

Karen Trendler with Ntombi at the Rhino Orphanage.

Little Kiliguni, the orphan elephant, found dehydrated , wandering alone through the savanna after his mother was poached, tail bitten off, and chunks taken out of his ears from the hyenas who came to feast on his mother’s poached body. He was resilient! Joining the other orphans, forming new familial bonds, and overcoming the odds. Who are we not to take on that spirit and soldier on for others like him? (Kilanguni’s story)

kilanguni ele bottle

Kilanguni being bottle fed at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

And the most phenomenal miracle of all: Miss Thandi. Poached, her face hacked open, blood loss, yet still trying to stand, telling us she wasn’t done yet. Treated again and again and again for her wounds, now pregnant! Fighting to survive and to carry on, now gifting the world with another life. How dare anyone give up hope now? If Thandi can carry on, have the will, the strength to persevere, we MUST persevere as well. (Thandi’s story)

thandi nov 2013

Thandi alive and well, 3 months pregnant.

These animals fought for their lives, they are sending us the message they want and need to carry on. We must balance the scales, and help them not just to survive, but to thrive. The dream of seeing a crash of rhino in the wild or a giant heard of elephants marching through the savana-it can come true. It will if we unite and work toward this.

Do not give up.

To donate to Helping Rhinos/Fight for Rhinos, please go to the donations page on the top or click on one of the donations buttons.

Categories: Good News, Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Miracle for Two!

I’m pleased to announce that Thandi, the miraculous poaching survivor, is expecting!

Dr. William Fowlds, who has been part of Thandi’s life since the poaching attempt on her life said,

“I don’t recall such a small value carrying such huge significance for anything in my professional life. Thandi is arguably the single most important rhino alive as I am not aware of any individual animal that has carried the plight of the rhino out to the world to the extent that she has and continues to do. Her story has touched the lives of so many people across the globe and her courage is reflected in our love for her and the species that she represents. The prospects of a successful pregnancy and birth represent the hope of survival. In a crisis which threatens us with despair, that hope, as insignificant as it may seem for some, is what we cling to for dear life.”

If all goes well for this courageous soul, she will have come full circle from birth to almost death, and now delivering a new life into the world to carry on Thandi’s legacy, and hope for all rhino.

closeup Thandi May 2013

Categories: Good News, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Old McChina Had a Farm

If you needed a way to get milk, but weren’t allowed to legally purchase it, what would you do? Why-buy the cow of course!milking the rhino

This is essentially what China has done with the rhino. To get around CITES, and the illegal trade of rhino horn, they have started rhino farming.

In 2011, TIME magazine reported China’s initial undertaking of establishing a breeding colony of African Rhinos in order to harvest horn. Their investigation found that a Chinese arms company – the Hawk Group –  had imported 60 rhino from South Africa to a park called Africa View in the Hainan Province of China. (This was a year AFTER China assured CITES they had no intention of farming rhinos.)

They also found the subsidiary company had developed a device that could scrape rhino horn. Plans were in place to produce 500,000 detox pills made from rhino horn. Projected sales from the rhino horn were $60 million a year.

Between 2007 and 2012, there were 150 rhino exported into China.

Initially African View Park was touted as a tourist destination, a guise to conceal the true purpose of the facility, although the lovely “view” was of row upon row of concrete enclosures filled with rhino.  It is now referred to as the Sanya City Center for artificial propagation of the rhinoceros.

The newest development at the facility is China’s announcement it will release the White Rhinos into a rainforest, undoubtedly in the name of conservation. The obvious concern is that White Rhinos who originate from Africa are not meant to forage or habitat that type of environment.

rhino under tree

According to rhino horn trade expert , Dr. Tom Milliken, “These animals will just not survive in a rainforest-type environment. We have concerns about nutrition and their overall ability to cope. If they don’t have supplementary food, they could starve. This is simply not conservation.”

Not to mention, free roaming rhino in China are about as safe as a stack of money on a park bench.

The list of animal parts China turns into traditional “medicine”, and it’s propensity to kill and use animals into near extinction is endless. (See Planet China: a world of myths and make believe) The farming of animals is nothing new (i.e. bear bile farms, tiger farming). Rhino farming was inevitable.

Is this really much different than the rhino farming in Africa? They too breed rhinos, and store the horn for the golden day of “legal trade” so they will be able to cash in, handing the horn to the Chinese and Vietnamese. For if indeed African farmers are in it only for conservation purposes, why not destroy the horn?

It’s known that South Africa advocates for legal horn trade. In a picture perfect scenario, proponents of  legal trade believe that by shaving and selling the horn it will somehow meet the demand in the Asian market, reduce poaching and save the rhino. This is a weak argument. (See Kill the Trade or Kill the Rhino)

Bear in a bear bile farm

Bear in a bear bile farm

If anyone believes this can possibly be good for the rhino, here is a report done on the bear, who are being farmed as well.

From ‘An Investigation into the Chinese Demand for Farmed vs. Wild Bear Bile’  The report concludes that “the ability of

farmedbear bile to reduce demand for wild bear bile is at best limited and, at prevailing prices, may be close to zero or have the opposite effect.” They go on to say that “for the wildlife farming debate this indicates that at some prices the introduction of farmed competition might increase the demand for the wild product.”

Since this has been in the public eye, the South African Government has put restrictions on releasing more rhino to the Chinese developer in charge of the facility, who was in negotiation to receive 30 more rhino.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Toto the Fighter-Animal of the Week

His leg is so swollen, his wrinkles had straightened out.

His leg is so swollen, his wrinkles had smoothed out.

Kenya-Thanks to Fly4Elephants, a young elephant was spotted by air patrol staggering in the bush. He had been speared with a poisoned tip. Barely able to stand, the KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) deployed a veterinarian to the area to assess his condition.

On Feb 15 the veterinarian darted him and treated him with pain killers and antibiotics. He seemed ok that day and the next.

Feb 17 he was seen in a pond, eating and drinking. A good sign! The next day he seemed somewhat relaxed and even tried to knock down a tree.

Sleeping with his head resting on the tree.

Sleeping with his head resting on the tree.

Feb 20, the veterinary team darts him again to clean his wound. He is startled by the dart and falls down on his bad leg. The team gets him up after a great deal of effort.

Feb 21, he is sleeping with his head on a tree. He is very uncomfortable and cannot lie down. Everyone fears he seems to be giving up.

Feb 22, He is desperate for sleep, and has lost weight. The decision is made is relieve him of his suffering and put him down. The vet will come out tomorrow.

Feb 23, To everyone’s surprise, there seems to be slight improvement.

A visit from family.

A visit from family.

Feb 24, The little bull had a visit from his family today. There was a herd of over 150 elephants. Amongst them a family of 5 or 6 peeled off and spent time with him, stroking  and  touching him all over … they were very reluctant to leave him.

Feb 25, In the morning Toto was eating, still  hanging on.  Then in the evening,  just a few hours ago-he chose a final resting place and passed away. It was the same resting place another bull elephant had died in 4 months ago. Is it a coincidence his family visited in the last hours? Did they come to bid farewell?

This brave soul fought hard, and suffered much, but his pain is over, his journey has ended. Rest in peace Toto. Let your struggle be a wake up call, a lesson for all of us on the tragedy of poaching.

Categories: Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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