The rhino illustrations were kindly supplied by Alan Ainslie. (www.alanainslie.com)
The South African Veterinary Association is
UNITED AGAINST POACHING:
The increase in the number of rhinos being poached in South Africa has a direct effect on veterinarians as they get called out to examine and treat rhinos injured in poaching incidents. We decided to support our members by raising funds to assist them to treat the survivors to the best of their ability.
This is the origin of the Vets United against Poaching shirt project. R10-00 from every shirt sold is donated to the Veterinary Rhino Rescue fund.
This fund will be used as follows:
- For the Rhino Response Team: To assist the veterinarians in affording orphan rhinos as well as rhino poaching survivors the best possible treatment.
- National veterinary workshops to enable veterinarians to share knowledge/ experience regarding the best treatment available for animals that survived poaching.
For more information, please read the details below.
If you would like to support this project, click here to order shirts.
Rhino poaching is on the increase in southern Africa and mainly South Africa. In the past 3 years the known amount of rhinos illegally killed for their horn has risen from 83 (2008) to 333 (2010) ‒ an increase of 401%. In 2011 448 rhinos, mainly white rhinos (Ceratoterum simum), were slaughtered. During 2012 this number is increasing even more and currently we are heading for more than 550 rhinos killed in this calendar year. This increased trend is not sustainable for the rhino population in the long run. It is unclear at this stage how many rhinos survive these callous acts.
Several organisations are very visible in their efforts to try and halt the illegal killing of our rhinos. The effort of these companies and every individual that is working on the ground is laudable and their efforts should continue to build on the successes they have had thus far.
Private veterinarians as well as veterinarians from the various nature conservation and parks authorities have also tirelessly been trying to save individual animals that were attacked. Most of the time their efforts have had very little reward as most of the animals that survived the initial onslaught died soon after intervention. There is a desperate need for better understanding the pathology caused by poaching in order to try and save as many of the survivors as possible.
Regardless of whether rhinos are kept on private or national reserves, they are a charismatic species that embodies the struggle many non-human organisms face to survive. As such, they should be regarded as a natural national asset and be treasured.
The Onderstepoort Rhino Response Team
Why we need funding:
The Faculty of Veterinary Science at Onderstepoort with its state-of-the-art facilities and motivated staff and students would like to make a major contribution to the survival of the rhino…….. ONE RHINO AT A TIME.
Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital is a well-known institution in southern Africa as well as well beyond these borders. Several staff, together with Dr. Adrian Tordiffe from the National Zoo in Pretoria, has joined forces to assist private veterinarians with clinical cases of rhinos that have survived a poaching event, as well as other general surgical and medical interventions.
When the hospital was built in the late 1980s no one could imagine the kind of assistance we would require to make today, specifically relating to the desperate plight of the rhino. At the moment we house rhinos where we can, but a more suitable area needs to be created to accommodate these rhinos optimally.
Young rhinos up to about 18 months of age can then be accommodated at our hospital. Adults stress very easily in a captive situation, however, and here lies one of our major problem areas. We do not have a vehicle capable of taking the veterinarians to these injured rhinos, which is fully equipped to deal with the situation as it unfolds in the bush. Our National Defence Force has promised air support, should we need to be taken to far outlying areas, but the equipment we have in the hospital is insufficient for this type of work.