JOHANNESBURG – Poachers in South Africa darted a rhino with a tranquilizer and then hacked off its horns while it was sedated, leaving the animal with a horrific wound covering much of its face. A couple of days later, staff on a wildlife reserve found the grievously injured rhino — alive.
Last week, veterinarians operated on the 4-year-old female, a rare survivor of an increasing wave of attacks by poachers who killed more than 1,200 rhinos in South Africa last year. They removed maggots and dead tissue, applied dressing and fastened a fiberglass cast with steel screws. The wound measures 50 by 28 centimeters (19.6 by 11 inches), the biggest of 10 similar cases that the team has treated in the last three years.
The rhino's rescuers gave her a name: Hope.