Hope’s journey towards recovery began on 30th April 2015, when she was found in the most horrific condition. Her face was terribly mutilated after being brutally attacked by poachers and left for dead. The Eastern Cape of South Africa suffers severe losses each year due to an illegal and high demand for rhino horns, and Hope is one of too many poaching victims who have suffered needlessly because of this greed.
After being discovered, she was hastily transported to the Shamwari Game Reserve where veterinary experts assessed her condition. After the decision was made that Hope could be saved, major surgery to reconstruct her face was scheduled for Monday 18th May. Her face was cleaned and a shield fixed to protect her. She is continuously observed and monitored by staff at the reserve and is regularly visited by veterinary professionals, including Dr William Fowlds – once a member of the Medivet family. It will take over a year and multiple procedures for Hope to fully recover, but we remain optimistic that her recovery rate will be sooner.
The “mission statement” of Saving the Survivors, the team of vets who are treating Hope, is “creating hope from hurt”, which provides the perfect inspiration behind Hope’s name. Since we heard her emotional story we have all been keeping Hope in our hearts and minds. She has fearlessly made it through five procedures now and her will to survive is strong. Since her third procedure, the main challenge has been finding alternative ways to keep her shield in place so she will not be left vulnerable to infections and disease. It is truly remarkable and inspiring to see Hope’s transformation since her first procedure. She has survived against all odds and is receiving the best medical care.
Most recently, we’ve heard great news that Hope is back to her regular self and has her spark back! She has now been moved to a new home and has settled in nicely. We cannot thank Dr William Fowlds, Saving the Survivors, the Wilderness Foundation, their donors and everyone who has helped spread Hope’s story with us enough.
At the beginning of our Medivet Saving the Rhino project which we launched in May 2015, we introduced ‘Pennies’, the digital charity box, a system whereby customers can choose to donate a few pennies each time they pay their bill with their debit or credit card. All money raised through ‘Pennies’ goes directly to projects aimed at combating cruelty to wildlife, and Hope’s medical procedures in particular have benefitted greatly from donations already received. We are pleased to announce that as of the 23rd June 2016, we have raised over £100,000 through Pennies! To all who have generously donated and continue to support our Medivet Saving the Rhino project, we are forever grateful.
Without you, we could not have come this far.
Together we have made all of this possible for Hope. Together we will continue our mission to protect these beautiful creatures.
“Through the work being done on the ground, this rhino, Hope, is giving victims of poaching a voice which cries out to the world for our help. She is becoming a living symbol of this poaching crisis, and an inspirational example of the fight for survival against seemingly insurmountable odds. Her struggle to claim back her life and her dignity must become our fight to change human behaviour and restore value and respect and care for all living things.” – Dr Will Fowlds
For regular updates on Hope’s progress, check our Facebook page.