02 Feb Rhino capture
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the rhino poaching. We tend to forget the positives associated with rhino conservation.
Welgevonden management had decided to sell a sub-adult male white rhino to another reserve to be a partner to a young similarly aged female.
The rhino capture began early at the South Gate where we met up with the vet and helicopter pilot. The vet explained the procedure and quantities of each drug to be used on the rhino and it was amazing to see how little of each drug was used to knock down a rhino. The teams assembled on vehicles with the transport vehicle and crate coming up the rear. We waited anxiously watching the helicopter in the distance. When over the radio we got the call that the rhino had been darted at exactly 07:18am. The helicopter pilot then pushed the rhino towards us. We drove to the area where the helicopter had landed and disembarked quickly with water and other gear.
The rhino took a while to go down and carried on walking in a weary state until eventually he succumbed. Once the rhino was down details were required for a new ambitious initiative to collect DNA and microchip every rhino in South Africa, beginning with all rhinos that are to be relocated or immobilised for whatever reason.
This took approximately 10 minutes, if not less. Once completed the time then came to load the young male onto the trailer which involved the vet injecting a reversal drug to wake the rhino up slightly. The tough job of guiding the rhino to the trailer began with about 10 people needed to push the rhino in the direction of the trailer. Eventually success! The young male was safely in the trailer at 07:45am which shows how efficient the Welgevonden management team and vets are at doing their job. It was really exciting to be this close to one of Africa’s icons and I’m sure everyone involved in the capture enjoyed it.