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Brutal attack on rhino calf in South Africa by poachers stuns rescue staff

14/01/2013 18:15:25

The calf was severely slashed with a panga - Fortunately she appears to be making a strong recovery despite her injuries. Photo courtesy of EWT

Orphaned calf was slashed with a panga

January 2013. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Rhino Orphan Response Project, in partnership with the Rhino Orphanage, was called on to assist in the rescue of a horrifically injured, two month old rhino orphan.

Said Karen Trendler, co-ordinator of the EWT's Rhino Orphan Response Project: "We found the calf in a terrible condition. The poor baby had obviously tried to return to its mother while the poachers were removing her horn and they slashed at her face with a panga and an axe repeatedly in order to chase her away."

18 lacerations
The calf survived the brutal attack and has 18 very deep lacerations across her face, one which cuts right through her stump and the other through her skull.

"It has been three days since we rescued her and she is doing remarkably well. She is still in a great deal of pain and we are monitoring her progress very carefully but we hope that she will make a full recovery. This is unfortunately not an isolated occurrence of baffling cruelty by poachers - we have seen many such incidences in the work we are doing with the orphans and victims of rhino poaching," continued Trendler.

The calf seems to be making a strong recovery despite the unbelievable and brutal attack. Photo courtesy of the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

The calf seems to be making a strong recovery despite the unbelievable and brutal attack. Photo courtesy of the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Utter dismay
Yolan Friedmann, CEO of the EWT, expressed dismay at the needless cruelty of the South African poachers involved in the incident. "The EWT is appalled at the outrageous brutality and disrespect for life displayed by this attack. The rise in the incidence of rhino poaching driven by international trade in the horn is a terrible reality but we cannot ignore the fact that it is South African people wantonly destroying their own heritage. The attack on the calf was an act of entirely unnecessary malice and we as a nation need to start thinking extremely hard about our utter lack of respect for life in so many areas of our society."

The Rhino Orphan Response Project
The Rhino Orphan Response Project provides an integrated emergency response and support network for rhino calves that may be injured, orphaned and traumatised as a result of poaching. The project ensures that the calves are recovered swiftly, stabilised and treated and, if necessary, that they are then placed in suitable facilities with professional staff that are trained to provide the right care and comfort. This fast, skilful approach executed by individuals with the necessary expertise means that the calves have a much better chance of surviving and being successfully rehabilitated back into the wild.

More about the Rhino Orphan Response Project 

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