The art of immobilisation
How do STS immobilise wild animals?
Immobilising large wildlife such as Rhino is an essential procedure in our toolkit to keep these species safe. Whether we need to treat an injured animal or a more proactive anti-poaching procedure like collaring, the decision to immobilise such a large patient is never taken lightly.
When we humans go to hospital and require treatment under anaesthetic, the Doctor will ask us not to eat 24 hours before, they know our medical history and will weigh us and calculate the exact amount of drugs required to keep us under for the correct amount of time and monitor us closely during the whole process.
Obviously when dealing with wild animals we can’t be 100% accurate on any of that, we don’t think a Rhino would listen if we asked it not to eat for 24 hours, let alone step on some scales! This is where we rely on the knowledge and expertise of our Vets and the awesome reserve management, staff and rangers who all contribute to safe sedation of our patients.
What happens when the reversal drug is administered?
Sometimes following administering the reversal drug, animals can violently burst into life! Especially Black Rhino! Others can appear “drunk” and stumble a little before they fully come round. This is where the selfless rangers and reserve staff bravely assist the often 2 ton animals regain their balance!
Sadly, in very rare circumstances, individual animals can take a turn for the worse during immobilisation and not wake up, or not recover from the procedure. Thankfully these cases are very few and far between, but this does add to the weight of consideration when deciding whether to immobilise an animal. It is never without risk. But our Vets and staff always do all we can to ensure the risk is minimised.
Thank you to everyone who supports STS, without your support this work would just not be possible.
How can I support Saving The Survivors?
Please donate to ensure that we are always on hand to tend to Africa’s most special species. You can support our work by becoming a monthly or one-off donor. Donate here. Every single penny you donate goes directly towards supporting vulnerable wildlife.
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The art of immobilisation
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