25Nov
By: EPI-USE Advance On: November 25, 2016 In: Articles Comments: 15

hope_world-rhino-day

It is still hard to believe that our beloved Hope is no longer with us, especially since she left so suddenly and unexpectedly. But her spirit continues to live on, she remains the voice for other rhino poaching survivors and she will forever Help Other People Evolve.

This is her story…

End of April 2015: The approximately six year old rhino was first darted and then attacked by poachers who hacked off both her horns and left her for dead. Badly mutilated, she wondered around and hid in the bushes for four days and five nights.

Beginning of May 2015: When eventually found, part of the rhino cow’s face, nasal passages and sinus cavities were exposed while several bones were also severely fractured. It was one of the most brutal poaching attacks since the rhino poaching scourge began. However, a decision was made by veterinary experts that the rhino, who had since been named Hope, could be saved and she was moved to the rehabilitation centre at the Shamwari Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth.

May 2015: Hope’s first surgery took place and Saving The Survivors (STS) was called in to assist with the treatment on her face. Dr Johan Marais, CEO of STS, described the 50cm by 30 cm wound as “one of the worst injuries” that he had ever worked on. The wound was cleaned, maggots removed and an artificial cast was put in place for protection. This process continued during the next couple of weeks/months.

June 2015: A third procedure, taking over two hours, is performed on Hope. During the second procedure, the first shield was removed as it had come loose because she rubbed it off against the boma’s fence. During the third operation, the bottom part of the shield had to be drilled on because of insufficient bone structure to keep it in place properly. Radiographs had showed that the poachers removed too much bone for the required attachment points. More dead tissue and bone was further removed. A mould was also made of the shield to cut down on future procedure time. It was anticipated that Hope’s recovery would take at least a year and a half.

June 2015: Hope received her fourth treatment, again over two hours. She was given injections of antibiotics, pain relief and anti inflammatories as well as an anti-parasite treatment. More maggots were removed and the wound was flushed. A clean new cast was then screwed on.

July 2015: A fifth procedure is performed on Hope. Although the large wound had healed really well during the previous couple of weeks, a new type of protective shield had to be put in place once again as the previous one had come off. This new shield was more elastic but it was a challenge (taking almost three hours) to put it in place because of almost no bone left to attach it to. The challenge remained to keep her shield in place so that she was not vulnerable to infection and disease.

August 2015: Some time had passed since the last procedure. Hope’s wound was being reassessed with a new protective shield out of elephant hide, thought to be strong but still supple enough, to be applied. The feisty rhino once again removed the previous protection of her wound. Dr Gerhard Steenkamp of STS, leading a team of other veterinarians, used stainless steel orthopaedic wire to stitch the elephant hide (obtained from an animal that died from natural causes) in place. This after kudu skin (wire tore through it) and hippo skin (too thick) were tried unsuccessfully. After the procedure, Hope was moved to a new enclosure at Shamwari.

March 2016: It is decided to move Hope to a wildlife holding facility just outside Bela Bela in the Limpopo Province where she will be nearer to the STS team and the specialist treatment that she will need on her road to recovery. The challenge remained to close the gaping wound that is not healing on its own and that remained a risk for infection due to maggot infestations among other things.

May 2016: Survivor Hope has had at least 16 surgical procedures since she was so viciously attacked by rhino poachers in the Eastern Cape just over a year ago. And she had remained as big a fighter as ever. It was estimated that the wound had reduced by as much as two thirds thanks to innovative procedures carried out in the past 12 months. The latest one was the Abdominal Re-approximation Anchor System (ABRA), which are specially made elastic bands from a Canadian company, Southmedic. The bands, stretched across Hope’s gaping facial wound, are designed for human patients who had received abdominal surgery and acted like shoelaces, stretching skin on both sides closer together.

June 2016: Hope’s wound had closed even more since the ABRA strips were applied a month ago. But yet again she remained annoyed by the dressings on her face and kept rubbing them off against the boma’s fence. The STS team however didn’t give up and applied a glue-on version of ABRA as it was thought to be less irritating. A plan was also put in place to move Hope to a bigger enclosure with orphaned rhino calves and more natural surroundings.

September 2016: Hope remained in excellent condition, eating and drinking well, and her wound continued to heal. It even seemed that a small little back horn had started to grow, although this may have to be removed at some point. She did however seemed to be agitated at times when humans came too close to the boma fence. The treatment on her wound continued and various methods looked at and investigated to secure a permanent covering.

13 November 2016: The day that all hoped would never come… Saving The Survivors shared the devastating news that our beloved white rhino cow, Hope, passed away. She was found in the late afternoon without life in her boma.

Dr Marais from STS was himself present at the post mortem, and the entire small intestine was severely affected, showing signs of haemorrhage and discolouration. Looking at the injury, the course of the disease was extremely quickly, so much so that she must have died within an hour or two maximum. This is also confirmed by the fact that she was seen on Sunday afternoon with no signs of being sick, and then was found dead late afternoon.

Said Dr Marais at the time:

“Hope has won over hearts of people all over the world. She was a feisty and fabulous rhino that never gave up her fighting spirit. She contributed immensely to science, by teaching veterinarians how to heal her face, so that other rhinos may benefit from this new info. This is already happening with a rhino called Seha, which is treated by Saving the Survivors. Seha is suffering from exactly the same injury as Hope, and his wound healing is already much improved, due to knowledge that was gained from treating Hope.

“Hope was featured in hundreds of print publications as well as on all the major news channels and networks worldwide. By doing so she created massive awareness on the rhino poaching crisis, across the globe. This is something that cannot be bought or measured in monetary terms.

I am incredibly privileged to have been able to work on such an amazing animal.”

Trackback URL: http://www.savingthesurvivors.org/wp-trackback.php?p=3723

15 Comments:

    • Miriam McCormick Hayes
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    I loved her so. I followed her story from the day she was found. RIP sweet Hope.

    • Lucy taylor
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    The story of Hope is inspiring. It is so sad that Hope was never free from the cycle of surgeries she so bravely endured, but she has shown us that giving up is not an option, no matter what the eventual outcome might be. Rest in peace brace Rhino.

    • Kim Linthorne Shaw
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    2016 has been a year of loss for everyone-we have all been touched by the death of some beloved star that has passed. Prince, Florence Henderson, the list goes on, but the death of Hope has touched me so deeply. There are never enough words to describe how deeply she touched so many, she will be remembered and the pain we feel for her loss is so real, so deep and so tragic. Hope changed the world, and i hope that people learn from her experience and the killing of all of the beautiful animals and our planet stops

    • Tamara
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    Thank you Dr Marais and all of the STS team for everything you have done and continue to do. HOPE was an indpiration, she will be sorely missed but never forgotten

    • Winnie
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    Hope in our heart!

    • Michelle
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    She left a wonderful legacy. So much was learned through her healing process that can be carried on to the next survivor. Thank you to the wonderful caregivers these special animals have. Without you there would be no hope.

    • Erica
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    I have followed Hope’s story and my heart hurt when I heard she had passed. She will live on in our hearts and minds as she blessed you all and us with her many lessons. I think many of the lessons Hope taught will be realized as the journey continues. Knowing Hope’s story is bittersweet. She was an incredible survivor of adversity. Tangible evidence of the horrific poaching.
    Bless you Hope and Bless all the Doctors, rehab people, nurturers and all involved in loving Hope.

    • David Savournin
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    God bless STS. You guys are amazing. Never, never give up.

    • Leslie
    • November 25, 2016
    • Reply

    I have followed Hope’s progress since the day she was discovered. She was an inspiration and a champion. I am grieved to hear of her passing – especially so suddenly. Thanks to her and all who rallied for her existence. May she now wander that great wide open grasslands of the sky in peace – never hunted – never in fear.

    • Sheila Kraus
    • November 26, 2016
    • Reply

    THANKYOU FOR THIS INFORMATION ON WHY HOPE DIED.. SO MANY WONDERFUL FOLKS WORKED SO HARD TOWARD HOPES HEALING AND RECOVERY! SHE WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND STRONG! SADLY SHE DIED! I FELT SHE DIED OF AN INFECTION POSSIBLY IN HER HEART BUT I AM NO VETERNARIAN, SADLY SHE HAD AN INTESTINAL ISSUE WHICH IM SURE HOPE FOUGHT AS MUCH AS SHE COULD.

    MAY GOD BLESS YOU LOVING CARING PEOPLE IN ALL YOU DID TO TRY AND SAVE HOPES LIFE! MAY YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE BENEFIT ALL ANIMALS INJURED. POACHING DEVIANCE MUST STOP IN AFRICA FOR RHINO AND ELEPHANTS AND ALL WILD ANIMALS GOD HAD CREATED‼️

    • Stef
    • November 26, 2016
    • Reply

    So sad. But Hope will live on in the awsreness of these horrific attacks

    • Heather van de Vyver
    • November 28, 2016
    • Reply

    I have just been asked to feed a three day old Jack Russell pup that was dumped in a shoe box in the new Baywest shopping mall in Port Elizabeth. She, like Hope, has a problem in that she has a cleft lip, the palate itself is not cleft, so I am sponge feeding her every two hours and she is a fighter too so for that reason I am calling her Hope, in honor of your Hope who fought so hard to survive her shocking trauma and I hope this Hope manages to survive and continue her namesakes legacy of the will to survive!

    • karin bleeker
    • November 29, 2016
    • Reply

    Never forget what all of you did for her. So sad she did not make it after all these attempts. Let her be an example for all the rhino’s, who are struggling in this f….battle against poaching.

    • Patricia
    • December 06, 2016
    • Reply

    It is very sad to think that things like this are happening.
    This are beautiful creatures that we all should care and protect.

    • Laura
    • December 26, 2016
    • Reply

    God bless to all those involved with Hope. Your efforts inspired many.

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