Not many people realise how much work goes into supporting the vets that so selflessly dedicate their lives to supporting wildlife and, in this day and age, rhinos are at the top of the list of animals needing help.
In light of World Rhino Day which has just passed (22 September) and the recent release of the documentary STROOP, a journey into the rhino horn war, it is fitting that most of African Wildlife Vets’ contribution within the last two months has been for rhino conservation.
In the documentary, African Wildlife Vets founder, Dr. Dave Cooper talks about rhino orphans. It is a devastating reality that one of the harsh effects of rhino poaching is the calves that are left behind. Dr. Cooper suggests that the number of babies that are actually lost after their mothers are poached is underestimated. There are also many that are found and then need to be cared for by orphanages until they are old enough to be released back into the wild. One of African Wildlife Vets’ ongoing projects is to assist Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife with the care of both black and white rhino orphans by providing the necessary veterinary support and feed. They recently assisted with collaring an orphan so that it’s progress can be monitored in the wild.
Through the support of important equipment being donated, such as a cordless impact drill, necessary pharmaceuticals, and other veterinary supplies, African Wildlife Vets have been able to contribute within the last two months to rhino relocations, placing transponders into the horns, and ear-notching operations. Ear-notching is a monitoring method used by protected area managers and ecologists to identify the individuals within a population.