Reconstructing A Rhino’s Face Was No Easy Task

In South Africa last year, poachers caught and cornered a large female rhino in a brutal attempt to harvest its horns. Rhinos are one of the main targets of poaching for the illegal trade in their horns, which has soared in recent years. The determined poachers darted her and then savagely hacked at her face with machete blades to strip her of her valuable ivory horns. The attack on the rhino left her face severely disfigured there was not much hope that she would ever survive it.

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Rhino Attacked By Poachers

Image: CBSNews

Luckily, the injured rhino was found and cared for by an organization called “Saving the Survivors.” STS is a rescue group that deals exclusively with the emergency rescue and treatment of rhinos injured by poaching attacks.

When they found the helpless rhino, they quickly transported her to a special wildlife veterinarian to be treated. She underwent extreme facial reconstructive surgery to try and close the wounds which had left her with an exposed sinus cavity.

Rhino Receives Facial Surgery

Image: CBCNews

The rhino proved to be a survivor, and during the healing process, she was given a new name, “Hope.” This month Hope had to undergo further surgery, which they began by affixing elastic medical bands across her wounds.

Rhino Heals After Facial Reconstruction

Image: CBCNews

The procedure was originally designed to treat human patients with abdominal injuries, elastic bands which “act like shoelaces, stretching the skin on both sides closer together.”

Once the surgery was complete, they applied protective dressings to keep the wounds clean and free of any dirt or debris. Since the terrible attack, Hope has been showing great progress. She has even begun to grow back a small bit of horn which vets believe is a good indication that she will do just fine.

Article: CBS News