Successful Endangered Rhino Relocation
In celebration of World Rhino Day, we would like to share with you a blog about the recent and commendable relocation of six rhino bulls, from Tshukudu Game Reserve.
Chris Sussens and the team at Tshukudu Game Reserve have spent years tirelessly protecting the reserves rhino population. The project has been a great success and a testament to this triumph is the steady growth of the rhino population. As these resilient giants grow and become stronger the level of competition amongst bulls reaches a tipping point, and some animals must be moved to new homes, furthering their genetic diversity. Rita Piso (Mangata Wildlife Veterinary Services), the wildlife vet whom oversaw this challenging operation is a highly passionate and well respected professional in her field.
Rita accompanied Chris and the conservation team as they recently sought to relocate six rhino bulls. Once an animal is found and darted Rita swiftly gets to work, monitoring the rhinos breathing to avoid respiratory depression which can be a side effect of the tranquilizer. Rhinos run the risk of suffering irreversible muscle damage if left lying on their side for a lengthily period of time, thus Rita ensures that each rhino is attended to with the utmost care and efficiency.
Once the animal is sedated a blind fold is placed over his eyes and ear muffs are placed in his ears to minimize external stimulation and stress. Each rhino has distinctive and unique notches placed in his ears, these notches represent a numeric value, enabling researchers to correctly identify the bull. As a security measure microchips are implanted and horn shavings are taken for analysis, and a DNA register is compiled, as is legally required. Such measures have become a necessity in the fight against rampant rhino poaching both locally and abroad. Once all the data has been gathered a reversal drug is administered to help the rhino stand up. The team then carefully usher each remarkable creature into a crate. Safely secured in their crates each rhino is administered a calming sedative for the journey ahead. Rita diligently checked up on the rhinos every 3-4 hours throughout the trip to their new home, where they will hopefully produce off spring and help offset the drastic decline of their species.
All six rhinos have been successfully moved and remain in great condition. This operation showcases the professionalism and dedication Rita, Chris and the team at Tshukudu Game Reserve have for these colossi.
Watch the whole video:
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