The recent arrival of Sobo, a little rhino calf rescued by KWS having been mauled badly by lions in Tsavo East National Park very sadly died on the morning of the 7th August. We knew all along that there was a very serious issue with the calf's front leg as she was unable to put any weight on this leg, and the puncture wounds deep into the elbow joint suggested that the injury could be worse than originally thought. Also the wound on her throat was deep and nasty. Her injuries had rendered her immobile, unable to keep up with her mother and her mother was having to leave her for increasingly long periods of time in order to feed and get water. An autopsy revealed that her leg was badly fractured with bone fragmentation, and her throat injury was deeper than suspected. Her lungs were also compromised so despite the antibiotics she was on, the extended trauma and pain from the lion mauling proved too much for her and very sadly she died.
Every rhino in Kenya is extremely precious, with so few remaining, and to loose a wild born calf from the free released population of Tsavo East is especially tragic. It was only a month ago she was sighted and photographed from the air by the DSWT aerial surveillance unit running behind her mother. But every baby rhino is vulnerable to the infamous Tsavo lions, capable of killing a young elephant even. Clearly the mother had fought hard to save her calf from the lions, but the injuries sustained proved fatal in the end.