A Rescue mission for Taylor the Rhino.
Luck was on our side that evening as Taylor came within 20m of Yona and with the help of our night vision equipment, Yona managed to get perfect footage showing Taylors’s leg injury…
Taylor the rhino first came to our attention when Yona our Park & Wildlife Manager, saw him limping during one of their regular night patrols. Thankfully it was nearly full moon which meant Yona was able to set up his portable hide and get some footage of Taylor to send to our local Etosha National Park Veterinarian.
Luck was on our side that evening as Taylor came within 20m of Yona and with the help of our night vision equipment, Yona managed to get perfect footage showing Taylors’s leg injury. We then sent the footage off to the Vet and were advised to keep monitoring his progress. With no moon, this ended up being more challenging than expected, however we still had numerous camera traps out and with the help of that footage the vets decided it was best to interfere and dart him.
Yesterday morning Yona did one last check up on the cameras as we knew the Helicopter and Veterinarian were on their way. The camera trap footage revealed that he had come to drink at a nearby waterhole during the early hours of the morning, so Yona set his APU team out to track down Taylor’s location. Within 2 hours our ground team found him and thankfully, the Helicopter was close by as well. Once the pilot landed, he was given the most recent coordinates of Taylor’s location. Taylor however he picked up the scent of the APU due to a wind direction change and he had moved off from the last location. Due to their bad eye sight, Black Rhinos have an incredible sense of smell.
Once Yona and the Veterinarian team were airborne, the ground team made their way to where the last coordinates were marked and they started tracking him again.
By this time, it was midday already, and getting hotter by the minute, so we knew he would seek coverage under a bush thicket to stay out of the blaring sun, which makes it even more difficult for us to spot him from the chopper.
However, luck was again on our side and within 20 minutes after take-off, we spotted him. The veterinarian was ready, the pilot started his descent for darting….. and the dart hit!
We got the ground team in closer to keep an eye on his movements, but it wasn’t long before the drugs kicked in and Taylor was snoozing away….
The Vet said that his leg is fully functional and the injury he sustained was from natural causes. With time it would heal and he would have full mobility of his leg once more. We gave him a few ‘Grandpa’s for the pain and continued to take vitals as well as research material such as measurements, blood samples, tissue samples etc. These are imperative and helps us identify these animals in future conflict situations.
After about 30 minutes, the drugs were administrated for him to wake up. The total procedure from take-off to landing took us 1h22m. We flew a total of 36.30km.
Yona will continue to keep an eye on Taylor as he heals and should anything suspicious be picked up, we will be sure to get the vet team back out again.