A British student game ranger is fighting for his life after he was seriously injured when he was accused and trampled by an angry rhino that ate him in South Africa.
The Scottish apprentice was believed to be taking a 10-week training course and being taught field crafts when he and his teachers surprised a dangerous giant black rhinoceros.
The horned animal – which can run at over 30 miles per hour and weigh 1,400 kg – attacked immediately, and the young student ran for his life in the thick bush that the rhinoceros chased.
It trampled and drove him several times before losing interest and trotting back into the bush at the game reserve in Zululand.
According to IPSS Medical Rescue, the student trained on foot in a game reserve he wouldn’t name in KwaZulu-Natal and learned the behavior of the Big 5.
The Big 5 are rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard. The student was believed to be completing a 10-week course with the Field Guide Association of South Africa.
The attack resulted in a search and rescue operation by IPSS Medical Rescue and an armed team against poaching in case the rhino attacked again and it was found seriously injured.
A medical source said, “He was covered in blood and at first sight we thought he was dead. But he was still breathing and having a pulse, but it was very touching and went for him. “
The attack occurred on Wednesday and the student was taken by ambulance from the KZN Private EMS Ambulance to the hospital, where surgeons are fighting to save him.
Paul Herbst of IPSS Medical Rescue said: “The student was stabilized before being transported on the road by a private KZN ambulance for surgery in critical condition.”
The source added, “He is very badly and will be lucky, but he is in good hands. If a rhino takes you one on one, it will never end well.
“We were told he was taking a trainee ranger course and by walking he would learn the skills he would need to be a ranger when a black rhino appears and attacks.
“The student ran, but was followed, but disappeared into the bush.
“The tutors called an armed team against poaching knowing the rhinoceros was nearby and after doing a search they found the young man bloody and unconscious.
“He was doing very badly, but was stabilized while a medical team of surgeons was on standby and ready for him when he got to the hospital.”
Black rhinos, unlike white rhinos, are solitary and territorial and become incredibly aggressive when hit. They are known to attack trees and termite mounds.
Prince Harry – Patron of the Rhino Conservation Trust in Botswana – was once dragged 20 feet by a sedated rhinoceros who woke up while hanging on a safety rope.
He said, “It is not easy to stop a three-ton rhinoceros with a rope and a blindfold.”
In 1988, an angry rhinoceros protecting its calf killed 21-year-old British student Joanna Copley while studying baboon behavior in a Zululand game reserve.
The rhinoceros cared for the terrified St. Andrew’s University student from Birmingham who was studying in Scotland, and the impact of the horn broke her back and neck.
It is believed that there are around 20,000 white and 6,000 black rhinos left, and poachers threaten them all day and night to have their horns cut off.
They are mainly sold to Asia for use in traditional medicines or for carving.
It is believed that rhinos kill around 600 people annually in Africa. Known for being in a bad mood, they regularly attack cars and safari trucks full of tourists on game drives.