So this is what killed Spencer the Rhino

Spencer the Rhino’s, post-mortem and a toxicology report are out.
And it reads like that of an overweight middle aged man, carrying a fatal underlying condition.
I had almost expected to read that Spencer had a bottle of Scotch a day habit, and worked his way through a packet and half of camels a day. But of course he didn’t.

Spencer the rhino, as he lay dying. Photograph by Chris Collingridge

About two weeks ago I posted on my blog how Spencer died while local and international media looked on.
We watched not knowing the rhino was dying.
Journalists were invited by the Rhino and Lion Reserve to witness, an anti poaching initiative.
Time was of the essence. There was intelligence that rhino poachers were planning to target the bull.
What vets did was dart Spencer, then drill holes into his horn to place microchips, and a radio transmitter.
When they tried to wake him up, his heart packed in. The owners of the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve said shortly afterwards that there would be a  post-mortem.
Spencer died of a dodgy heart, liver and kidney. Vets picked up lesions, but the old rhino hid his condition well. He was slightly over weight, and showed no signs of ill health.

“One of these conditions in isolation my not have led to his death,” said Lorinda Hern, the Marketing Manager, Rhino & Lion Reserve.
The toxicology report didn’t find anything, poisoning was not a cause of his death. This even though a pesticide had been injected into his horn, to prevent human consumption.
Vets said there was no way, they could have known that Spencer had these underlying conditions.
“You couldn’t really go up and liaise with this patient,” said Hern.

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About Shaun Smillie

Journalist, with a love of bones, fossils and other things dug up. Fisherman and occasional beer maker.
This entry was posted in Rhino poaching, stories behind the news and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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