On the fourth and final day, rangers set out at the crack of dawn to resume the search for Bahati, theorphaned rhino calf with a snare around his neck. Bahati had previously survived a bullet wound to the neck and the loss of his mother to poachers. Today we mourn them both, as Bahati has tragically succumbed to his injuries.
Big Life and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers started the day full of hope and optimism that there could still be a happy outcome; fresh tracks were spotted mid-morning and ground teams were sent in. Veterinary services and helicopter support from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust were called in on stand by.
During the night, Bahati had retreated into extremely dense brush and sharp lava fields. Against all odds, the rangers managed to spot him in the distance and immediately called in the helicopter. A KWS veterinarian succeeded in darting Bahati from the air with a tranquilizer, then landed and rushed to his aid.
Tragically, the metal snare had cut too deeply into Bahati’s neck. The wounds were severe, and septicemia had already set in. Exhausted and traumatized from the ordeal, Bahati succumbed to his injuries and did not awake from the anesthesia.
We are all devastated by the loss of this special little rhino.
Through our grief, we are grateful that so many came together in the attempt to rescue one of the few rhinos alive in this small corner of East Africa. In particular, we thank the Kenya Wildlife Service and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. We are also extremely thankful for the encouragement we have received from supporters around the world who bolstered our efforts.
Bahati now joins his mother (pictured together above) as a statistic in the rhino poaching epidemic.