“Dehydrated, and traumatised next to cow’s carcass”
Beeld / South Africa 27/8/2011
Nature lovers are disappointed and shocked after senior officials of the Kruger National Parks shot and killed an orphaned rhino calf next to her poached mother’s carcass last month.
Mr. William Mabasa, spokesperson for the Kruger National Park confirmed that officials killed the calf because she was traumatised and dehydrated.
Beeld was contacted earlier this week by a reliable and confidential source that chose to remain anonymous with information that officials that were involved in this incident are shocked and unhappy because they were given instructions to shoot the calf.
According to this source there are wildlife rehabilitation centres that could have accepted the calf for hand raising. The calf’s mother, a white rhino, was killed by poachers close to the Berg ‘n Dal Rest Camp. Both her horns were removed.
Mbasa said that the parks management only interferes when animals are orphaned as a direct result of man’s actions. He said that Sanparks is aware of some rehabilitation centres but are of the opinion that wild animals raised by people are unsuitable for release back to the wild and can never really adjust to life in the wild. He is of the opinion that this calf could not be saved.
Louise Joubert of the SanWild Wildlife Trust close to Gravelotte said that it is regrettable that the Kruger National Park destroys its own rhinos while there is a country wide onslaught on rhinos’ lives.
“People are hysterical about the crisis facing our rhinos; how is it possible that the Kruger National Park did nothing to spare and save this little calf’s life?”
Mbasa said that the Kruger Park has sent rhino calves to rehabilitation centres in the past, but that many of them ended up being used for commercial purposes. Sanparks are considering developing its own capacity to sell “strong” white and black rhino calves to strengthen its Development Fund.
Karen Trendler that has been involved with the rehabilitation of rhinos said that “all rhinos that are lost or traumatised are a tragedy”.
The fact that so many rhino calves are orphaned as a result of poaching nowadays, has been identified by the EWT as an aspect that should be given urgent attention.
Dr. Jan Myburgh of the Department of Para veterinary Science of the Veterinary Faculty at Onderstepoort said he is of the opinion that an orphaned rhino calf can never really be rehabilitated because the imprinting of such an animal on a human is simply too strong.