Posts Tagged With: survivor
By now most of you have likely seen the heartbreaking photos of Hope, the poached rhino who has by some miracle survived despite destruction of half her face. The pain and fear she is enduring, the long precarious road to recovery, the trauma that marks her in ways we can’t even fathom – this is not even the worst of it. The worst is knowing she will not be the last.
Thandi, Lions Den, Dingle Dell…they have all come before her. They have all endured being darted/sedated, treated, fashioned with metal plates, screws, sutures, only to have it done again, and again, and again. Yet, no rhino has literally survived having half her face brutally chopped away.
This is the extreme of “saving” an animal. But it’s the norm for poaching.
Hard to look at, bloody and heartbreaking. But she doesn’t have the luxury of looking away. Neither do the veterinarians who look after her and listen to her cries day after day.
Take the pain and fury you feel for her and use it. Be strong enough to look, be bold enough to share:
*Poaching of rhinos is a global crisis.
*It kills rangers AND poachers
* It creates tension in communities,
*It destroys jobs by wiping out the ecotourism industry
*It adds to funding of terrorist operations
*It’s wiping out the last of a 50 million year old animal.
For more on the survivors see: Poaching Survivor Lions Den,
She was one of three rhino found poached in Kariega Game Reserve. Thandi was the only rhino to survive.
Since then this determined survivor has undergone surgery to help heal her opened sinus cavities with skin grafts. Not once, not twice, but about 12 times according to Dr. Will Fowlds. Thanks to efforts from Dr. Fowlds, Dr. Johan Marais, Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp and even a human plastic surgeon, Dr. Alistair Lamont, the team is dedicated to keeping this girl going.
In December, during one of her procedures, Dr. William Fowlds added an additional blood test to her usual profile that would measure any hormonal fluctuations. Very soon after, it was joyfully announced that Thandi was pregnant!
And with a gestation period between 485 and 540 days, her time is drawing near. All of us anxiously await for the miracle survivor to become a miracle mom.
Thandi’s recovery has been long and painful. Her character of resilience and determination have brought out the determination of all of us to help her and to protect others like her from the same awful brutality. Like a modern fairy tale, we route for this heroine to get her “happily ever after”, to continue living safe and healthy; and to be the mom nature intended her to be.
This is the story of a couple, Yvonne and Rocco Gioia, and their love for an orphaned baby rhino.
“We came upon a dead rhino cow on our property and we knew she had a little calf. We started searching and wouldn’t give up. The search lasted almost three days. We called in the help of the air force and the police, and eventually, a private helicopter pilot.”
Finally, they found little Roccy hiding under a tree, in great distress after losing his mother.
“We called in the vet to dart him, and that day I said to Rocco, I’m not giving up on this animal. I will do anything in my power to get him to survive.”
Roccy had to undergo cataract surgery – the condition most probably developed from the shock and dehydration sustained during the poaching incident. The procedure was successful, and Yvonne and Rocco took it upon themselves to raise him and take care of him, and shortly thereafter he was joined by another orphan rhino named Clova.
Being in Roccy and Clova’s presence makes it even harder to understand how any person could harm such docile animals. Rocco believes it comes down to education.
“Everyone is up in arms about the rhino situation, but you have to remember that 90 percent of people in our country are not aware of it, let alone know what rhino look like. This includes the part of our population from which the poachers originate.”
He thinks that people have lost touch with nature, and that they need to learn about the damage the human race does to animals in order to turn the situation around.
“The awareness obviously has to spread through the countries that use rhino horn. But our point is – clean your own house first, and that starts with the education of South Africa’s children. It is based on the simple mathematical equation that the youth will be adults when rhino are on the brink of extinction.”
It is this conviction that led him and his wife to share Roccy’s story via a colour-in storybook. It was a joint idea, and Pick n Pay helped distribute 40 000 copies of Roccy the survivor to schools representing all the social strata in South Africa.
Needless to say, Rocco and Yvonne would be heartbroken if anything were to happen to these two orphans. Yvonne says they live in constant fear.
“All our plans are controlled by fear, but you can’t allow yourself to take out your day-to-day woes on the animals. The only thing you can do is to carry on and fight for the cause.”
Rocco and Yvonne’s awareness campaign is a glimmer of hope in the dire-looking future. The survival of all endangered animals relies on selfless souls like these, and thanks to their efforts, we may just be looking at a happy ending like the one in Roccy the survivor:
“For the first time since Roccy ran and ran to get away from the poachers, and for the first time since his mom was killed, he was happy. He had lots of friends in his life now, and he was going to have many, many adventures.”
*Taken from “The Survivor” in Lowveld