Tag Archives: rhino

All change down on the range

Black rhinoWell, what can I say? Life has managed to get in the way and interrupt my normal Safari Vet School musings this week, hence the ridiculously late penning of this week’s rambling offering. For those of you who may have been waiting with baited breath for the next installment – that’ll be you then mum – I can only apologise and endeavour to do better this week. So, on with it…

It was our final week with the current group of students and it all ended rather nicely really – we couldn’t not see some lion action, afterall. I reiterate what I have said before but Will is a master shot with the old darts. Truly classic stuff. Good job too as well, as wanting to get in and have the job done swiftly must have definately have been the aim of the game when dealing with the lion cubs (although what I saw looked nothing like the cute bundles of fluff and claws that I think of when I hear the word ‘cub’), especially given the short work they were all making of the cow. A bite from a lion would certainly entitle the recipient to some serious man (or woman) points and usurp any tales of being ‘savaged’ by a bog standard domestic kitty, something which, to date, I have still managed to avoid and intend to continue to avoid.

I am just trying to recall what else happened (it is late as I write this)…. oh yes, rhinos. The main recollection I have of that part of the show was the fact that the rhino apparently ended up getting jabbed about fifteen times! Ouch. I am sure there was a good reason why they didn’t just opt to swap syringes whilst leaving the needle in place, rather than have to repeatedly make new needle stabs? Again, I am probably prompting shouts of derision and cries of ‘ignorance’ as I say that. I have not, after all, ever had to administer antibiotics to a wild rhino so I guess that’s the way it is done. Just a though though.

Its been great fun watching the students work together and grow as individuals over the course of the past few weeks and I am sure they all returned to their respective vet schools refreshed and full of new found enthusiasm and passion for the subject. Lets see what the next lot are like…

Cry Me a (Safari) River

Rhino mother and calfWow! Quite an emotional episode of Safari Vet School this week – I could feel the water table in my own eyes rising slightly whilst watching. The main focus of this week’s adventures were Rhino, and in particular the problems associated with poaching, which is unfortunately on the rise. Rhino horn is a much coveted component of many traditional Chinese remedies and there is an increased demand for such products, and with it a sad upsurge in the demand for Rhino horn. One of the main issues with poaching is that the poachers do not have the skills, knowledge, or regard for the Rhino’s welfare to even attempt to harvest horn humanely and sustainably, either cutting them off in such a way that leaves the animals mutilated and doomed to suffer a long, painful, lingering demise, or to just kill them outright, which is a criminal waste of life.

The show touched upon the story of Will, the head vet at the reserve, who had to suffer putting a Rhino he had seen grow up being destroyed as a result of poaching activity. Quite an upsetting thing for any person, let alone vet, to have to do. It did make me think, however, that every vet is faced with the harsh realities of life’s unfairness in various forms during the course of their daily lives, even in daily, general practice. Whether it be the case of the misguided and uneducated owners unwittingly buying a puppy from a puppy farm, or not engaging in simple routine preventative healthcare, such as lungworm control, with the result being that you, as a vet, have the task of fighting to save that pet, or even cases of deliberate animal cruelty. I still cannot get my head around how anyone can condone or even be involved, directly or otherwise, in animal cruelty acts such as dog fighting or physically abusing an animal. These are the sad examples of unfair animal exploitation that occur here, in our country, and are not, to my mind, too dissimilar to the issues facing the Safari Vet School team this week, albeit with obviously different causes and repercussions. It seems to me, however, that the common underlying issue in all such examples is education – if only people really, truly understood the implications of their actions then I predict that animal cruelty and ‘unfairness’ would be but a sporadic event.

On a more upbeat, less soap-boxy note, it was awesome to see how genuinely thrilled Camilla was with her experiences of microchipping and blood sampling the Rhino. That’s one of the great things about Vet School and veterinary in general: the series of ‘firsts’ that you get to be involved in, from performing your first caesarian and delivering healthy puppies, to your first fracture repair, right the way through to your first Rhino encounter 🙂 Nice one!

To learn more about the issue of Rhino poaching and how to get involved in putting a halt to it, check out the Team Rhino website by clicking here.