When a black rhino became caught deep in a dried-up drinking hole, it had to be res.cu.ed with a digger. The critically endangered species is said to have waded in due to some surface water but was unable to exit. When a staff member patrolling the grounds of Phinda Private Game Reserve discovered the animal, he immediately collected a team to begin a re.sc.ue mission.
The crew utilized a metal bobcat excavator to build a route, and the animal was ultimately liberated after two hours of work. The reserve is located in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is now experiencing a severe drought that has decimated crops and animals.
Because of the severe water deficit, watering holes have dried up, resulting in dea.dly mud pits. Simon Naylor, the reserve’s conservation manager, and his colleagues started to work right away since the animal was plainly unhappy. After reviewing his alternatives, which included a helicopter res.cue and tying a rope around the rhino’s neck, he determined that using a digger was the best method to save the rhino.
This was the safest option since they didn’t want to place themselves in a risky scenario where, if the rhino attacked, they wouldn’t be able to move quickly enough in the muck. They contemplated darting him and administering tranquilizers or sedatives, but were afraid that he would drop his head and di.e in the muck. ‘Black rhinos are large and possibly de.adly creatures,’ he added.
We couldn’t reach him with a rope because the muck was too thick for a human to walk through. ‘I also didn’t want to approach too close since it would stress him out even more, and it may be dangerous for a human to come too close and be unable to move swiftly in the muck if necessary.’ ‘At first, I was worried because of the machine and the loudness. However, it settled down and showed no symptoms of tension or pa.in.’
‘It only responded and tried to horn the bucket when the bucket approached close or dug next to its head,’ he continued. It looked to be entirely undamaged when it was brought out. For a time, he took simply out of the muck and through the breach we’d dug. Then he walked out into the woods.’ This res.cue attempt was extremely significant to the park since it had lost six of the rare animals to poachers in recent years.
‘The poaching is done out by well-organized syndicates and transnational organized crime,’ he added. We are battling this on several fronts. On the ground, in the courts, and across international borders. However, like with the drug trade or human trafficking, we are fighting against well-funded and resourced criminals.’