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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 

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

South Africans just love money, not wildlife

I read many articles and conservation blogs in South Africa, and my assessment is that most of the people in charge really don't care about their wildlife. The rhinos, elephants, etc., are valuable to South Africans only as carcasses - for trophy hunting, and now for horn and ivory. It's shameful, cruel, cowardly, greedy, and despicable. Every day I worry about what poor animals will die so violently this night, what ones will have their faces hacked off before they are unconscious or dead, which calves will be left to die alone, terrified and traumatized, and why the world does nothing to stop this carnage. I write to the Chinese, African nations. CITES, the Secretary of State, the newspapers, etc., but my cries fall on deaf ears.

Posted by: DeniseD | 19 Jan 2013 01:58:47

South African Rhino poaching cruelty

At last, someone has said outright that it is also the South African people killing the rhinos THEIR OWN HERITAGE. Until SA President Jacob Zuma FIRST and followed by the rest of his ANC Government STAND UP AND TELL THEIR PEOPLE LOUD AND CLEAR THAT THE RHINO IS SACRED TO THEIR NATION and that murder, poaching & cruelty to SA's rhino will result with NO MORE RHINO and that this WILL DEFINITELY IMPACT TOURISM REVENUE and money will be MORE SHORT, this behaviour will continue. Zuma & his Government need to show absolute respect for SA's wildlife & wildlife studies should be included in all schools so that children can educate their parents as well - there is a lot of ignorance involved in this, apart from greed & cruel killing. It needs to be noted too that whilst we point fingers at the Asian countries for the use of rhino horn medicinally causing the deaths of so many African rhinos, there are rhinos being killed in SA by SA people who use not only the horn but other rhino parts for their own 'medicine beliefs' & considering that some Asians are claiming rhino horn cures Aids too (apart from cancer!) & SA has the highest Aids figures it doesn't surprise me that SA's rhino poaching numbers for 2012 were 660! SA's leopard also face extinction because President Zuma & many others insist on wearing real leopard skins for traditional events EVEN THOUGH REAL LEOPARD SKIN IS RESERVED FOR ZULU ROYALTY ONLY and despite Zulu royalty asking that this NOT continue many have ingored this sensible request - so if the President & many others are not going to show respect for the requests of Zulu Royalty & disrespect for the leaopard then how can one expect the people to show proper respect for SA's rhino?
If African Government Leaders (all countries) & other Government officials do not very soon wake up their people to the serious plight of Africa's rhino, elephant & lion THEN THE DAY IS FAST APPROACHING when there will be none left AND AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS WILL FINANCIALLY SERIOUSLY REGRET THEIR UTTER STUPIDITY - they've had years already to try to put this right!
Africa's elephant had the worst year in 2012 despite the ivory ban - when one thinks that the killing of Africa's elephant now is LARGELY TO FUND THE MANY AFRICAN WARS/CONFLICTS I have little hope of the elephant surviving, they will just keep on killing the elephants till every single last one is gone - then I wonder what they'll kill to fund their wars/conflicts? For sure, one day Africa will be completely devoid of all forms of wildlife, it will all have been killed, & as the African populations continue to grow at alarming rates the day will come when there will be nothing left for the people to eat & little tourism revenue coming in - PERHAPS THEN AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS WILL UNDERSTAND THEIR FOLLY (though even that I doubt!) & will be holding their hands out for 'more assistance'.

Sadly, I notice people hardly even bother to make comments about Africa's rhino & elephant situation anymore...

Posted by: Lindsay Rooken-Smith Jenions | 18 Jan 2013 19:05:32

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