Saving Baby Rhino “Meha” With CPR



On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, a decision was made by South African National Parks (SANParks), Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks (MPTA), and Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary (NPC) management to dehorn all rhinos at the Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary due to the ongoing national poaching crisis, and a number of serious poaching threats that were received at the non-profit organization.

Rhino horn is made up primarily of keratin, the protein found in our hair and nails, so the removal of the horn is not painful to the rhinos, and regrows in much the same way.

Contrary to many cultural beliefs, rhino horn does not have any medicinal properties. The dehorning procedure is routinely performed on rhinos in captivity, and has proven over time to be one of the most effective techniques in the relentless fight against rhino poaching.

During this specific dehorning exercise, beloved white rhino orphan Meha experienced an adverse reaction to the sedative that was used for the procedure. Thanks to continuous monitoring by the SANParks team, it was immediately identified that Meha’s breathing and pulse had come to a complete stop. This prompted Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary’s co-founder, Chris de Bruno Austin, to initiate CPR on the 900lb white rhino by blowing into Meha’s nose as several other team members engaged in chest compressions. Chris and the team refused to give up, and after several painstaking minutes, Meha was successfully resuscitated and began to breathe on her own.

Meha has since made a full recovery, and is currently grazing in the fields with her fellow rhino orphans.

Whilst it pains us that such drastic measures are necessary to keep our rhinos safe, we are happy to report that all the rhinos at the Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary NPC were successfully dehorned. SANParks and the MTPA helped with the safety and well-being of the animals being cared for at the rhino sanctuary.

More About Little Meha

She arrived at the Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary in May 2015 after she was found standing beside her mom’s carcass. Meha stood by her mom’s side for over 2 days before she was rescued and brought into the sanctuary. She was extremely dehydrated and stressed and had no milk for 72 hours. Meha’s mom was killed by poachers.


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