A BADLY injured Eastern Cape rhino that cheated death 21 months ago is pregnant.
In March last year, Thandi, a rhino at Kariega Game Reserve near Grahamstown, was hunted down and had her horn hacked off by poachers. She was left for dead.
Thandi, which means “love” in Xhosa, was one of three rhinos to be attacked that day. She miraculously survived, and on Saturday the game park announced her pregnancy.
The two bulls targeted by poachers subsequently died. The horns of the park’s remaining rhinos have since been surgically removed to avoid another tragedy.
“This [Saturday] morning I relived that day in March. I thought about what all of us went through and the decisions we took,” Kariega general manager Alan Weyer said. Weyer addressed the media from the game farm at the weekend. The briefing was followed by a game drive in order to track down the tubby Thandi.
Following the incident in March, Thandi was treated by wildlife vet Dr William Fowlds.
In June a first-of-its-kind skin graft procedure was performed in which Thandi was given four different types of skin grafts in an effort to protect her damaged face. Her story was documented world-wide.
Kariega co-owner Graeme Rushmere said having a calf would be the perfect, well-deserved reward for Thandi’s courage. “A lot has been told through the blood, guts and gore, and now we have a happy ending,” Fowlds said.