Posts Tagged With: Thandi
Everyday there is another poaching, most of the time another life taken. But for the “lucky” few, they survive.
For those rhinos, it’s not just a matter of providing a bit of veterinary care, then sending them on their way. The physical and emotional toll it takes lasts the rest of their days.
A couple of months ago we were in Kariega Reserve and had the privilege of meeting one of my heroes, Thandi, the rhino who cheated what seemed certain death.
On our second siting of Thandi and “baby” Thembi, it was immediately obvious from a distance that something was different. As she moved through the grass, happily grazing with Thembi not far behind, the sun shone off her face showing a glint of red. Moving in closer, there was no doubt it was bloody and raw.
After numerous skin grafts, being anesthetized and treated, this is as good as it will ever be for her. Even the best of veterinary care and creative “bandaging”, cannot hold up to rhino life. There is a bull in the area who does what comes natural, the equivalent of rhino flirting. Through pushes and bumps, the thin skin over her nasal area isn’t as sufficient as the protection of her own horn.
She doesn’t seem to be in pain, as she happily munches her grass or gives Thembi “love taps”. In fact, the blood was the only sign something was wrong.
But as Thembi grows older, Thandi will mate again, hopefully making Thembi a big sister. Rhino mating is not a gentle process!
The Kariega staff and veterinary team keep a close eye on their star. She is in good hands, but seeing the occasional re-opening of the wound is a constant reminder of her struggle, of the long road we are all traveling in the poaching war to prevent other rhinos from the same horrible fate.
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,
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.
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.
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.
From Kariega Game Reserve: This morning at 8:50am Thandi gave birth to a calf! The birth was witnessed by two Kariega rangers and shortly afterwards; wildlife veterinarian Dr William Fowlds observed the mother and her calf from a distance. He confirmed that both are doing well. More details and photos to come in the days ahead 🙂
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.
With 790 rhino poached this year, 2014 is on its way toward topping last year’s death toll. With the shadow of corruption within the national parks and government looming large over the fate of rhinos, it is difficult to feel optimistic about their future.
Yet, there are bright spots to illuminate the darkness.
World Youth Rhino Summit
Over 100 future conservationists (15-17 years of age), are convening at the first World Youth Rhino Summit focused on the rhino poaching crisis. The demand for horn, and loss of rhinos affects countries across the world, not just in South Africa. The aim of the summit is to plant the seed of conservation in future rhino ambassadors throughout the globe.
Rhinos Without Borders
The initiative started with a successful translocation of 6 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana. Since then, Rhinos Without Borders is looking to move 100 rhinos to safer areas. With the future of the rhinos at stake, this move serves to increase the geographical spread of the rhino population throughout southern Africa, as well as introducing a new gene pool into Botswana. Translocation will be pivotal in the preservation of the species.
Our beautiful, resilient, soon-to-be mom will remain the ambassador for her kind. She is and always will be an inspiration to keep us all going! We’re all waiting with bated breath for her to give birth sometime this December.
And as always, Fight for Rhinos and Helping Rhinos will continue putting our all into the best options we can find in assuring the future of these magnificent creatures. Currently, that includes *Reserve Protection Agency *Game Reserves United *Ol Pejeta Conservancy *Project Rhino Track *Stop the Demand Campaign
We CAN turn this around, but we need you! Please donate if you can.
Two years ago on the Kariega Game Reserve three rhino were poached. Two of them survived the initial attack. One was the infamous Thandi, the other died a few days after-that was Themba.
They were tended to by Dr. William Fowlds, the dedicated, tireless soldier who is absolutely invaluable to our rhinos.
We remember you Themba, we salute you Dr. Fowlds. We will continue to fight for all rhinos.
Fight for Rhinos and Helping Rhinos are proud to support Dr. Fowld’s initiative, the Rhino Protection Agency. Please consider making a donation (see donate button on the left of this page).
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.
It has been a little over 19 months since Thandi’s poaching. (See previous post: Thandi’s Story) Her story is not just one of survival, but endurance. This girl has had numerous procedures and skin grafts to heal the hole left in her face from her stolen horn.
At this point, the veterinary team is letting nature take its course. It remains to be seen how the wound will fare.
The latest update from her keeper at the Kariega Game Reserve is that she is doing well.
“She looks quite content. Her face is showing some improvement and although the progress is slow it would appear the wound is gradually closing in from the sides. Her doctors will be keeping a close eye on her progress and with their help and advice I’m sure her wound will heal.”
Her doctors will be keeping a close eye on her progress and with their help and advice I am sure her face will heal. Hopefully to the point where it will be able to withstand the rigours of day to day rhino life without resulting in any repeated damage to the wound.” – See more at: http://www.kariega.co.za/blog/thandi-update-november-2013#sthash.30qPzln1.dpufHer doctors will be keeping a close eye on her progress and with their help and advice I am sure her face will heal. Hopefully to the point where it will be able to withstand the rigours of day to day rhino life without resulting in any repeated damage to the wound.” – See more at: http://www.kariega.co.za/blog/thandi-update-november-2013#sthash.30qPzln1.dpufThandi’s Story: 2010 to 2013