17Oct
By: EPI-USE Advance On: October 17, 2016 In: Rhino Poaching, Uncategorized Comments: 24

Standing in the corner of the boma, Seha instinctively knew these two legged creatures approaching him weren’t the same ones that attacked him so brutally a couple of weeks ago. In fact, they were the ones with the healing hands; in those hands laid the promise of indeed creating hope from hurt.

On the day (24 September) that president Jacob Zuma opened CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg and called rhinos “our proud heritage”, Saving The Survivors treated this severely injured eight year old White rhino bull in North West after a vicious attack by poachers. A very despondent owner, who initially wanted to put down the animal because of the severity of the injuries, accepted STS’s offer of assistance in rescuing and treating the animal.

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Seha (short for Sehawukele meaning ‘have mercy on us’ in Zulu) was the only survivor after five rhinos where poached on the same property. Both his horns were hacked off leaving a gaping wound of 49 cm x 26 cm and extending into the nasal cavities. Not since Hope was left for dead and found with both her horns removed 16 months ago in an attack in the Eastern Cape, had STS encountered such callousness.

But just like this extraordinary and courageous lady that has since become the icon of all rhino poaching survivors, Seha has shown tremendous resolution, almost audacity by not taking this attempt on his life lying down. He is now in a boma (holding facility) in Gauteng where he is under the continued care of STS and other concerned individuals.

Despite the severity of his wounds and the pain he must endure when they are attended to, there’s nothing wrong with the appetite of this big guy. He is gobbling up everything that is put down in front of him, with a fondness for the green lucerne. This is a good sign because as long he is eating well, it means the healing process is aided nutritiously. The nightly sessions with the soothing voice of his on-the-ground caregiver, continuously giving him reassurance that we are here to heal and not to harm, are assisting the healing from within.

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Under a bright blue summer sky and driving down a winding, rocky path, STS went out to Seha last week. The wounds needed cleaning and a new fibreglass cast as cover was necessary. At the same time a mould of the outside of the wound was taken. This in order to produce a model from which a new flexible cover was to be constructed.

With a ‘puff’ from the vets gun and with a pink feather sticking out on the shoulder behind the left ear, the big grey beast was injected with just the right amount of anaesthetic to put him to sleep. It took a couple of minutes before the drugs took effect. Seha then dropped onto his haunches and was manoeuvred in such a way to make the work easier; his eyes were covered and a white towel was put underneath his head.

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Dr Johan Marais and Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from STS, assisted by various willing participants, started by taking off the existing cover and then cleaned the wound, flushing it with water and scrubbing it with disinfectant. And even though the smell rising from the open wounds was putrid, the injuries already seemed to have started healing in such a short period of time. It beggars belief, but this is just testament to this animal’s will to survive.

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In between, Seha’s vital signs were continuously checked and carefully monitored, his limbs were stretched and he was also rolled over so as to not compromise his vital organs. Water was poured over his body to keep him cool and hydrated under the baking African sun.

Dr Marais and Dr Steenkamp got to work in dressing the wounds, coating white surgical pads with honey as it is known that this matter has good healing properties. Bandages were wrapped around the pads and the fibreglass coating applied. Holes were drilled into the hardened cover and screws applied so that it stays in place. It is hoped that this cover remains in place for four weeks before it needs reapplying.

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SAMSUNG CSC

Seha was given the correct drugs to take him out of his slumber and all cleared the boma. Slowly he got back onto his feet, first wondering around somewhat unsure, then the fierceness in his demeanour and that steely look in his eyes returned.

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This was another day in the life of STS; another day in the life of a rhino poaching survivor. This one is name Seha. He isn’t the first and unfortunately won’t be the last. But as long as there is faith there will be life and Saving the Survivors Team will continue creating hope from hurt…

Trackback URL: http://www.savingthesurvivors.org/wp-trackback.php?p=3704

24 Comments:

    • Graham
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    Awesome, glad he is recovering well

    • Jill Kitto
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    Sad as it all is, this is a very good and informative report – thank you

    • patchez
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    your all heros

    • Tina Potter
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    Well done guys – you are all doing a terrific job…..just a shame that these wonderful creatures need helping in the first place. I cannot understand why the people behind these atrocities are in such a rush to kill off every single one of these species – all for the sake of a mistaken belief that this hair would have life-prolonging properties because once these animals depart this earth then that’s it…..the end.

    • Val Gall
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    Fabulous work! Thank you for this

    • Ethel Sleith
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    My admiration for those involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of these wonderful animals is immeasurable. You give me hope for a future for our wildlife.

    • Jannine
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    A thousand thank you’s would never be enough. ❤️ to everyone that cares for our amazing animals.

    • jeri swan
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    thank you, you are safe now

    • Ilva Strauss
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    As with Hope, I can only pray for STS and Seha. Hope is an icon and I pray that Seha will join her. I’m upset, angry, heartbroken and alles deurmekaar! I can’t even imagine what you must go through emotionally, spiritually and physically…..Hold on, keep doing your heroic work and make time for yourselves to reflect and heal. I hope you have debriefing sessions or something to keep you sane. I will pray and share…God bless…and I salute you. Seha, be brave boy. You’re doing very good so far!xxx

    • Tabitha Totten
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    Many Thanks to Dr. Marais to Dr. Steenkamp and everyone else! Love little Seha and thrilled at the progress!

    • SLKite
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    I really don’t have adequate words to describe the simultaneous feelings of pain and hope I feel while reading this….I also am in complete awe of Seha- such an incredible will to live..thank you for trying to save him…

    • Roz
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    The brutality of this attack is beyond belief! Thank you for attempting to save this regal animal! Each individual is highly valued.

    • Gilly
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    This is a heartbreaker!! Thank you to you all for the wonderful work you do in saving our precious rhino! It must be so traumatic for you to see this sort of brutality on a daily basis! Ever grateful!

    • Kerry
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    Thank you for sharing and for all the amazing work you do 💕💕

    • Conny Becker
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    it is with immense and unspeakable gratitude that one can read and sometimes has the privilege to see – of the tireless dedicated incredible passionate and hopefully never ending effort to care for, heal, protect and nurture these beautiful magnificent peaceful animals…..on our so very fragile delicate and utterly beautiful blue planet….no words of thanks would ever be sufficient .you are truly creating hope from hurt….may all you good people be blessed abundantly…… may you heal in time big Seha…..may all those hurting souls heal…and much love to our sweet feisty Hope <3

    • Kym
    • October 18, 2016
    • Reply

    Thank you

    • Andrene Skinner
    • October 19, 2016
    • Reply

    My heart breaks to see those dreadful injuries and I thank God for wonderful people like you who have worked so hard to acquire the skills necessary to do your incredibly difficult work. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish you all well.

    • carol spark
    • October 19, 2016
    • Reply

    if the wound was smelling putrid
    doesnt that mean that flesh is decaying? Wouldnt antibiotics stop that from happening? I find it worrying.

    • Lynne Marais
    • October 19, 2016
    • Reply

    Thanks for all that you do for these poor creatures. Without you they would suffer and die an agonising death. I pray in Jesus name that this big guy will recover quickly and for your blessing in abundance.

    • stef
    • October 20, 2016
    • Reply

    heroes, beautiful people, there are not enough good words to say about you. You have my admiration forever

    • Cynthia
    • October 28, 2016
    • Reply

    It breaks my heart every time I hear of the death and mutilation of these magnificent creatures! Thank you so much to the team that works tirelessly to save as many rhinos as they can! You are a team of heroes!!!
    To do this to any animal, you have to be barbaric and so evil!

    • Melanie Botha
    • February 10, 2017
    • Reply

    Heartbreaking. Thank you for giving Seha a fighting chance to live. Blessings to all concerned. Would love to see a follow-up as to how he is doing now…

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