Rhino en­joys a 2nd chance af­ter a skin graft from ele­phant

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

A rhi­noc­eros in South Africa that was mu­ti­lated by poach­ers for its horn is get­ting a chance to re­cover af­ter re­ceiv­ing a skin graft from an ele­phant, a vet­eri­nar­ian told AFP Satur­day.

The fe­male rhino was at­tacked two weeks ago by poach­ers who re­moved one of its horns and also killed the rhino’s baby.

The op­er­a­tion to treat the wound took an hour and a half and was funded by the NGO “Sav­ing the Sur­vivors” which res­cues an­i­mals left mu­ti­lated by poach­ers.

“This is the first time we are us­ing ele­phant skin to heal a wound on a rhi­noc­eros,” said Jo­han Marais, the vet­eri­nar­ian who per­formed the op­er­a­tion in Pre­to­ria.

Marais said that the pro­ce­dure was not in­tended to re­con­struct the horn, but sim­ply to cover the wound.

The ele­phant skin came from an an­i­mal that died of nat­u­ral causes, and was ob­tained from a taxider- mist, Marais said.

The rhi­noc­eros was treated last week, and it will take two to three weeks to know if the skin graft was suc­cess­ful, ac­cord­ing to the vet­eri­nar­ian.

If all goes well, the tech­nique could be used more of­ten be­cause only a small piece of skin is needed for the treat­ment.

De­mand for rhino horns, which are used in tra­di­tional Asian medicine, has ex­ploded in re­cent years. In China and South­east Asia, a kilo­gram of rhino horn sells for more than 55,000 eu­ros (US$61,000).

AP

In this hand­out photo supplied by Sav­ing The Sur­vivors, a rhino re­cov­ers in an en­clo­sure af­ter be­ing treated by Dr. Jo­han Marais, an equine and wildlife sur­geon, at the Pon­gola Game Re­serve South Africa, Fri­day, Aug. 14.

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