We got a call on 18th January, 2016. Two rhino cows had been attacked by poachers, one had died from her injuries, but the other had survived, and they were bringing her to HESC.
By the time they had arrived, we had learned that the rhino which had died, was the mother of the surviving rhino. Sadly, she was also pregnant, two generations of beautiful rhino’s, murdered.
The surviving rhino had not only gone through the traumatic attack, but witnessed the violent killing of her mother too. The poachers had used a drug to sedate them, called Etorphine, commonly known as M99, whilst they sawed off their horns.
Her entire sinus cavity was open and exposed. Our hearts broke when we first caught sight of her, on her arrival at HESC
We soon started on her first treatment. With our previous experience of treating Lions Den and Dingle Dell, we were in a good position to assess and treat her as accurately as possible.
We decided to name her Philippa, after two very poignant women in our centre’s history. First of which is Adine’s grandmother, Philippina, who was an extremely hard working nurse, and was instrumental to HESC being here today. The latter being a lady called Philippa Kort, who was a our representative in the USA, for both HESC and Camp Jabulani. Sadly, both passed away due to cancer. For us it was a very special name. And this brave rhino certainly deserves it.
A series of treatments took place over the months following her arrival. By April, the wound had started to close, and to show excellent progress. But the hardest part of the treatments, was finding Philippa. She had a knack for knowing when we would be coming for treatment, and she would bolt into the bush. Our team would literally take a few hours just to complete the process of finding her, and sedating her.
We had placed her with Lion’s Den and Dingle Dell at first, though they were a bit bigger and older than her. They took some time to settle in with one another, but they eventually got on well.
August 2016 Philippa had her final treatment, as our vet was happy with the way that the wound had healed. Seven months from the time of her attack.
September 2016 saw the arrival of another rhino bull, which made us relook at all of the rhinos’ living arrangements. We decided that Philippa should share land with Gertjie and Matimba, to allow the new bull to settle in with the Lion’s Den and Dingle Dell, to encourage future reproduction, all going well.
However, it was eventually decided that Philippa and Ike were better suited to share their land together. Both of which are particularly wary of humans, and avoided contact as much as possible. We have very few photo’s of these two rhino’s due to that very reason. Our HESC day tours do not pass through their piece of land for this reason too.
In fact, it is only in recent months that they have started to trust a few of the curators to come in close proximity to them.
Thank you once again, to everyone that has donated to HESC, towards Philippa’s treatments. Please do continue to support us and Philippa or any of the rhino’s in our care. The ongoing cost of their security and upkeep is a massive strain and stress on us from month to month. Please click HERE to find out donation/fostering options for Philippa.