Mission: Locating an Injured Black Rhino
Date: 19 December 2008
Requesting organisation: Eko Wild (Dr Wilhelm Schack)
Location: Atherstone Game Reserve, Thabazimbi
Pilot: Ivan Marx and Heiner Meyer
The mission to locate an injured Black Rhino in the Atherstone Game Reserve was put together at short notice but with an immense amount of goodwill. Dr Wilhelm Schack, the vet who needed to find and treat the injured animal, approached us late on a Friday afternoon. Given the time constraint we asked pilot Ivan Marx to assist us in his Alouette, but the aircraft was out of commission at the time. Ivan approached a friend of his, Heiner Meyer, with another Alouette, and by the close of day Heiner
was a full member of The Bateleurs, he and Ivan had spoken to Dr Schack, and all three were set to fly in search of the injured rhino the next day. But this is where we ran out of luck … the story continues here, as told by Dr Schack.
“The objective of the flight was to find, dart and treat an injured Black Rhino, but despite the best efforts of the Bateleurs pilots and ourselves, we couldn’t find the injured animal. Two factors prevented us from being successful: first, the density of the bush, and secondly, the vastness of the reserve (24,000 hectares).
The Eko Wild Team from Thabazimbi really appreciates the assistance from The Bateleurs who gave substantial time, effort and money to help us find the injured animal. The veterinarian and ground team of Eko Wild remain committed to render their services free of charge to worthy causes like the search and rescue operations for rare and endangered species, and to have been in partnership with The Bateleurs in this cause and project was a motivational experience.
In the meantime, the reserve personnel have pledged to carry on searching for the animal on foot, and we are eagerly awaiting news from Atherstone. Of course we hope that the animal is still alive and has recovered from its injuries of its own accord. This possibility does exist, but one never knows.
I attach some photographs from this mission, and sincerely hope that we may again in future rely on the valued assistance of The Bateleurs.”