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New Blind Orphaned Rhino at Sheldrick Trust

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  Jan Thursday, 15 March 2007 00:40

New Blind Orphaned Rhino at Sheldrick Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

 

3/14/2007 4:21:54 PM

The 6th February 2007 began as an ordinary day, but ended up anything but
ordinary due to the discovery of blind yearling baby rhino in the Park forest
about 3 kms. from our Headquarters.   The elephant Keepers, who were out in the
forest as usual with their charges, heard the rhino crying, and went to
investigate.   He was running around aimlessly, there being no sign of his
mother.   The KWS Rhino Unit was summonsed, and together they and our Keepers
monitored the little rhino until dusk from a good distance so as not to disturb
him or the possibility of his mother returning, and when there was still no sign
of the mother, something had to be done to spare him from being taken by
predators during the night.   By calling him with the rhino “come” sound (a soft
exhalation of breath), he followed the Elephant Keepers and KWS Rangers for the
3 kms until near the Trust buildings, when he spooked at the strange sounds,
blindly charging all and sundry and almost downing Daphne in the process who had
to resort to diving into a nearby bush!   By now it was quite obvious that he
was completely blind in both eyes, for both his eyes were opaque.   He was then
physically overpowered, which took all the strength of about l0 men and although
just a year old, he could certainly pack a punch and was immensely powerful.  
With legs tied he was then carried on the elephant Rescue Tarpaulin to a vacant
stable, where he was released, and proceeded to almost demolish the timbers of
the stable.   Apart from his eyes, he was in good physical condition, so he
could not have been without his mother for long.   (Her disappearance and
ultimate fate still remains a mystery.)
We named the little rhino “Maxwell”, "Max" for short, which somehow seemed to
suit him.   For three full days, no-one could set foot in his stable, he was so
wild and fierce, but he soon understood that milk and water was available at the
stable door.
 
It being essential that he undergo a course of injectable antibiotic to
forestall problems brought about by trauma and shock, only Robert Carr-Hartley
was courageous enough to risk going in, and having restrained the sharp end of
the rhino by hanging onto his head, some reinforcements then followed to enable
Robert to administer the antibiotic!   For the next three days, the same process
had to be repeated, and everyone heaved a sigh of relief when it was over.   By
now, however, the little rhino had calmed down sufficiently to enable one of the
braver Keepers to venture in with him, and since then he has been very amenable,
as long as not suddenly startled, enjoying being fondled on the belly and head,
as do all rhinos.   The next challenge was to move him into Magnum’s vacant
Stockade, which abuts that of Shida and this was accomplished without too much
difficulty. 
 
An assessment of the cause of Max’s blindness has revealed that he is suffering
from bilateral cataracts, so surgical intervention to remove the cataracts is
planned for Wednesday 21st March, when Dieter Rottcher returns from Germany.  
Dieter will oversee the anesthetic being extremely experienced in this field
whilst the eye surgery  will be undertaken by one of Kenya’s top Eye
Specialists, Dr. Schwendemann.   We keep our fingers crossed that we will be
able to restore at least some vision to little Max, for a bull rhino has to
fight for territory and rank, and must be able to see his opponent.
 
To View more photographs of Max click on this link:  http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/asp/orphan_gallery.asp?N=169
 
To Foster Max click on this link: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/asp/fosteringnew.asp?G=5&LP=3142007825-pic7a.jpg&N=169&FN=MAXWELL

 


Most Sincerely,

Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick D.B.E.
http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

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