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Vrystaat and Impi, both 2-year-old orphan male rhinos, lived on a privately owned South African farm, with anti-poaching security close to the Botswana border. One night as their owner was away, poachers took advantage as shot Vrystaat twice, once through his shoulder and then again through his eyes. They then hacked off his horn. Sadly, Impi was shot through the abdomen, shattering his hip joint, although his horn was not removed.

It is thought that the poachers cruelly shot Impy as he was trying to protect Vrystaat. Impy sadly died due to serve peritonitis, an inflammation of the tissues lining the abdomen and abdominal organs. But miraculously, Vrystaat survived.

Vrystaat had a long road to recovery, requiring constant wound cleaning, specialized bandages and doses of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics over an 18-month period. This is extremely difficult because not surprisingly, the once hand-raised calf Vrystaat, now doesn’t trust people.

It is with heavy hearts to report that 3.5 years after the initial poaching incident, Vrystaat sadly died. Our thoughts are with the owner and the entire team that looked after and loved him. Like Hope, he taught us a lot about these horrific injuries and how to treat them.

Rest in peace beautiful boy.