Yesterday’s post told you about the tagging of four Black Rhinos, which was all accomplished in one morning. In the afternoon it was time to move a White Rhino to a different enclosure.
This particular rhino needed to be moved because he had become aggressive, severely injuring, two younger bulls. He was essentially being put into time-out!!
As I ate lunch I kept wondering exactly HOW they moved a rhino once it had been anesthetized. Did they scoop it up in a front-end loader?
The answer came as Charlotte informed us that a different form of anesthesia was used to put the rhino into a sleep state….
…. much like the anesthesia that is used when we have colonoscopies.
But that still didn’t answer my question!
She prepared the dart….
….and they started out to find the rhino and dart it…..
The plan was to dart it on the ground rather than from the air, but the first dart went astray so they reverted to the helicopter. Michael went up to watch the darting from the air. It was a bit tense in the truck…..
…until we heard the pilot say “The dart is in”.
THEN IT GOT INTERESTING!!
The first rhino was darted, but this time they didn’t wait for him to fall down. Instead, all of the workers rushed in to try to keep him on his feet
Unfortunately, this rhino became agitated… Very agitated!!
I actually videoed this process from behind a bush, peeking out when it was safe and moving back behind my bush when I felt that it wasn’t. Because of my movements, it isn’t a great video.
However, Dylan (one of the apprentices) filmed part of it and HIS video is much better!!…..
Here the Rhino was basically asleep on his feet and was eventually pulled down onto his side to help settle him down.
So would YOU grab a Rhino by the tail????
Since the rhino was already on his side, they went ahead and did the genetic testing and marking that had been done on the black rhino. They also sawed off the tip of his horn. It will grow back but, since he had gored two other males, they wanted to deter that behavior going forward…..
Charlotte assured us that the rhino was basically out, but that he could be moved at this point. So, all of the helpers, including Michael, gathered on one side and rolled him over onto his chest…..
NOT an easy task!!
Charlotte used a cattle prod to gently encourage him to his feet. Then all of the helpers got on either side of him…..
…and they “walked” him into the trailer!!
…. and of course, that is Michael holding onto the ear and the horn on the left.
He was secured in the trailer…..
And yes, this trailer does make his butt look big!!!
The rhino was driven to the new pasture, ready to be released.
At this point, Charlotte climbed on top of the trailer and leaned in twice…
Once to inject the antidote, and secondly, to remove his eye cover,
She again used the cattle prod to gently encourage him to back out of the trailer. You can see from yesterday’s video that this solution would not have worked with a black rhino, but it is perfect for the calmer white rhino.
Unfortunately, the position of the bush precluded us from seeing the rhino as he woke up, but when we drove off, he was shaking his head and wondering exactly what had happened!!
The next morning, two other bulls were moved in a similar manner. These were bulls that have been injured and were in the “hospital pasture”.
The first of these was a HUGE bull (much bigger than yesterday’s) and the first thing that he did was get himself stuck in a bush. There was much pulling and “encouraging” him to back out into the open….
As before, he was loaded up and taken to the new pasture.
This time the trailer was placed so that we could easily see him backing out…..
…and getting ready to explore his new environs….
That task completed, it was back to the helicopter….
…to find the last Rhino to be moved.
This one was a little guy…..
…and they didn’t have any trouble guiding him into the trailer…..
After the final rhino was loaded up, it was time for the helicopter to return to camp, and I was thrilled when the pilot, Koos asked if I wanted to ride along.
How fast can you say “YES PLEASE!”
It was a short ride, but we did spot a herd of buffalo….
….and checked up on a black rhino with her new calf….
This little guy is only about 10 days old. It would’ve been fun to get a closer view but Kwos reminded me that we did NOT want to land anywhere near the mama rhino.
I arrived at the lodge a LONG time before everybody else and enjoyed sending texts calling them slow-pokes!!
What an experience!!!
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