sabi sabi ranger stories

rhino death

A sad day - July 2003

On the 16th of June 2003 a female rhino and her calf werespotted just west of Klipspringer koppie. It was noticedthat the female was struggling to walk and was staying mostlyin the same area. The warden, Gavin Hullet was called into have a look at the Rhino. It was late afternoon and unfortunatelya public holiday. It was decided that someone should staywith the female for the night until the vet could come throughin the morning. As the sun was setting two hyenas were spotted.The ever-keen opportunists moved in to asses the situation.Fortunately for the female and her calf Justin Mitchell,Lodge Manager of Selati Camp, kept the hyenas at bay bythrowing stones at them. Stefan Winterboer, JohanthanSaville and Max took over from Justin just after sunsetto sit with the female and her calf through the night. Fortunatelythe evening was not too eventful for the Rhino. Hyenas approachedtwo or three times but were chased away by the rangers.They soon lost interest and stayed away for the remainderof the evening.

By the morning the female had only moved about 400 meters.The cause of concern was her front right leg. She was draggingthat foot and couldn’t put weight on it at all. Shewas using her head as a fifth way to help her move. A verysad night! The vet arrived in the morning and soon concludedthat her shoulder was badly damaged and the only optionwas a merciful bullet. What to do with the calf? It wasestimated that the calf was about 2.5 years old, too youngto be left on its own. Phone calls were made and fortunatelyan interested party was found who would take the calf andlook after it. It was a sad day, as none of us like to seea majestic animal such as a Rhino lose her life. The causeof the damage was thought to be the result of a bull rhino.Aggressive males attempting to mate with them often injurefemales. A sad ending but this is nature!!

By Johnathan Saville

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