After she survived a horrific attack by poachers who hacked her horns off, a South African rhinoceros was named Hope.
The four-year-old female rhino has been left with a huge wound in the wake the attack in Lombardini, a wildlife reserve in the South African province of Eastern Cape.
Several days after the attack, game-keepers found the injured pachyderm barely clinging to life, with a 20-inch wound — the biggest one the reserve has treated over the past three years. (Click through for the video.)
Surgeons operating on the rhino last week removed maggots and dead tissue from the wound, before attaching a fiberglass cast on it.
Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria said:
If we can save Hope and she can go back and produce more offspring, then in her lifetime she would have contributed to the survival of the species.
Authorities believe that poachers tranquilized Hope with a dart, before hacking off her horns while she was sedated.
The rhino’s nasal bone was fractured when she was found and part of it had to be removed, which exposed her sinus cavities and nasal passage.
Hope has now been transferred to another wildlife reserve and vets believe that it would take at least a year and multiple treatments before her wound is fully healed.
Demand for rhino horn has been growing in Asian emerging economies, particularly in China, where it is used in traditional medicine as a cure for an array of illnesses, though there is no evidence that it can heal.
Suzanne Boswell from Saving the Survivors, the organization that is caring for Hope, said:
Hope is doing really well.
Saving the Survivors has treated rhinos with all kinds of poacher-inflicted injuries, including gunshot wounds and facial gouges.
Another rhinoceros, named Thandi, recovered after her horns were also hacked off by poachers, before giving birth in January, the group said.
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