Black rhinos are one of the most endangered species in the world and, as aforementioned in a previous post, continue to dwindle due to poaching.
We had the opportunity to take part in an operation to sedate and transport a baby rhino that had been shot and needed medical attention. The World Wildlife Foundation spearheaded the operation and brought in the Calvary to get the job done.
A team had been sent into the bush to track and dart the baby rhino. The problem, her mother was not keen to have her child taken by a swarm of people. Once the baby rhino was sedated the mother went astray and a plane circled above to make sure she didn't charge the operation while we were on the ground. Apparently the baby rhino was darted before and given antibiotics to heal a gunshot wound to the leg but the infection persisted and the leg was far from healed. We hopped in the trucks and offroaded to the sight of the rhino to see if we could lend a hand. I lent two trying to lift a heavy 18 month old rhino into a pick up truck. Glenton flew his leopard painted helicopter into the site incase she needed to be airlifted but his service was not needed. The rhino went with the government vet to a clinic to be further evaluated.
I've come to find out that this baby rhino was subsequently put down. Her leg was beyond saving and with and amputated leg she would never survive in the wild. I felt sorry for her mother that had to witness her daughter shot and captured twice by the men with guns. Perhaps one day the mother will be shot and dehorned as well but until that day, I hope she charges with all her fury at anyone who comes to try and take her too. What really sickens me though, rhino horns are regenerable. They are made of keratin, the same thing your fingernails are comprised of. You could dart a rhino, cut off its $100,000+ horn and find it in another two years with a horn of equal size. The problem, economics. Keep supplies low and stockpiled then the demand and price rise.