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December 13, 2011

Horrific Death of a Rhino Calf in South Africa

  • Unfortunately, this calf could not be saved. K. Trendler/Working Wild

In the first week of December 2011, Karen Trendler of Working Wild / Rhino Calf Response Strategy EWT was called to the scene of a rhino poaching incident in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

A white rhino cow and her calf had been shot only 800 metres from a lodge in broad daylight. The cow had been shot four times and had died at the scene, her horn hacked from her face. Her 11-month-old calf had been shot in the chest but had managed to run from the poachers.

The calf was tracked, and was found the following morning. A vet treated her as best he could but she died eight hours later. A post-mortem showed that the bullet had broken three ribs and then ricocheted off the fourth into her lung, and then on into her liver, small intestine, stomach and finally into her large intestine. She must have been in terrible pain.

Her small horn was still on her face. At least the poachers didn't get that.

More than 400 rhinos have been killed for their horns in South Africa in 2011. Humane Society International is working with range states and in rhino horn markets to try to stop this carnage.