We started the day with another mass capture and darting of Blesbok.
A local breeder had 3 females showing the recessive yellow coloration and hoped to move them, the male responsible for the coloration and the other 20 Blesbok in the herd to a breeding area. Dr Fowlds darted 2 of the yellow females from the helicopter, which were to be loaded into the trailer. One of them was in a rugged area and was transported to the trailer on Dr Fowlds’ lap in the helicopter! We attempted to capture the rest of the heard in a Boma made of net and canvas. True to form, many of the Blesbok went crazy, running into the nets and jumping over, almost trampling two of our vet students. Of the 9 captured in the Boma, 7 were large enough to receive Haloperidol sedation IM injections whilst the other two were too young. Unfortunately one was impaled by another’s horn in the mid lumbar region. Though this is not an uncommon outcome when netting Blesbok, the loss was tough for us vet students. The remaining Blesbok in the herd sought shelter in a low valley that was unreachable by truck or helicopter causing the capturing of them to be postponed for another day.
In the afternoon we had lectures from Dr Fowlds. He explained to us what drugs and what doses we could use to sedate and wake up Cheetah and Rhino. He is on call for the Cheetah and we are due to spend the day with him and some Rhino tomorrow.
In the early evening we tried a new sedation cocktail on a female Red Hartebeest. Dr Fowlds darted her from one of the cruisers and we followed her until she went down. We observed the effects and the symptoms of this new cocktail that was deemed not really efficient. Dr Fowlds will experiment a little more in the future with this cocktail.
The rest of the evening was spent in preparation for the day with the Rhino. We wanted to join in the campaign #whosesideareyouon? – Whose Side Are You On? where people who are lucky enough to have their photos taken with a Rhino, hold up this message printed onto paper and distribute it as far as they can. Although this is usually done in English, we took the opportunity to write one for France and Portugal as those countries are also represented here on the Vets Go Wild course in addition to the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The images that will be taken from tomorrow will be used in this campaign to continue to raise awareness of the plight of the Rhino.
Ameline Azam - Ecole Veterinaire de Lyon (FRANCE)
Amie Johnson - Iowa State University (USA)