The following is an account by veterinarian Dr Panjit Basumatary, who attended a call on a critically injured male rhino calf found in a backyard at Japori village on the fringes of Kaziranga National Park.

The rhino calf that we saved last November took his first little steps in the open, exploring his paddock at Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga, India.

The rhino had had several injuries inflicted by a tiger attack. One was on his left foreleg and pus was oozing from a swelling at the base of its horn. The team rushed him back to CWRC for triage and then a long-term course of medication, dressing and healing.

On the long road to recovery, animal keeper Prasanta Das assiduously cleaned the wounds and treated the calf as a foster mother would. I monitored his healing wounds and provided necessary treatment.

In due course, three splinters of the broken bone gradually came out of the calf’s pelvic joint and the wounds healed without any major surgical intervention. After losing the offending splinters he reacts as if he got a new lease on life.

We introduced him to the paddock with some apprehension, to see how he would move and use his healed foot. All our fears were unfounded: He immediately started exploring the open surroundings, even running around.

We had all waited seven months to see this day.

The IFAW-WTI run facility, the Centre of Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) has the pride of hand raising orphan and displaced wildlife, of which five rhino calves have been successfully released back to the wild in two popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India. The success of rhino reintegration programme added a new feather in the cap as we saw three of the female rhinos released at Manas National Park gave birth to young ones.

Much credit goes to the team of veterinarians led by Dr. Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head Head vet of IFAW-WTI and the most careful and responsible animal keepers of CWRC, who are the real heroes of this successful recovery.

I look forward to the day when we will introduce him from the paddock to a larger boma.

When this one goes back to the wild, I will be a very happy man indeed.

PB

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Article source: IFAW

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