Iman Update: Detached Tumour Cause Severe Bleeding In Ailing Rhinoceros

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Keeper Ronald putting a mud pack on Iman to keep her cool and prevent skin from cracking. But she misses her mud wallow very much. – Photos courtesy of Sabah Wildlife Department

By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: Bad weather and severe bleeding from the uterus is not exactly good news for Iman – Sabah’s last surviving female rhinoceros.

“It is hard to say definitely if she will pull through if the bleeding is not stopped soon,” said Augustine Tuuga, director of the Sabah Wildlife Department in his latest report on Iman’s condition.

The recent bleeding is severe, possibly from the detached smooth muscle tumour inside her uterus, according to Tuuga.

A piece of detached tumour.

“The blood (with some clots) is seen coming out from her vagina whenever she lies down,” he said in Wednesday night’s account of Iman, who is undergoing treatment at the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) treatment centre in Lahad Datu.

“We are hoping that the Tanexamic acid would help clot and stop the bleeding into the uterus. The same treatment worked in the previous three bleeding episodes in Iman.

According to Tuuga further, the main problem is that, with the massive bleeding in the uterus, cauterizing the bleeders might be the only way to stop it.

The bleeding can get very severe at times, says Tuuga.

“However, no known experts are available to do the procedure and the anaesthetic risk is high,” he added.

Another problem that has surfaced is that Iman’s footpads or soles are detaching since she came into the night stall last December 18. This, said Tuuga, could have been due to the dehydration, previously.

“The raw footpads were treated three times daily. Currently, as the new soles hardened, the detaching foot pads would be removed,” he disclosed.

Detached foot pads.

“Alternatively, she gets her mud packs twice a day. This is to prevent skin cracks and discomfort.”

Iman would also stand in front of the grilled door to her paddock several times a day and look in the direction of her mud wallow.

The good news is that Iman is eating about 40 to 50 percent of her normal intake (12 to 17kg). She is hand fed inside the chute whenever she comes in, day and night. She is very selective of her diet and was fed at least ten species of plants.

About six species of plants were hung up inside the night stall for her to browse. She also gets about 3 to 4 kg of fruits consisting of banana and mango. Fruits were also used to bait her with medicines. She drinks from the water containers provided in the night stall.

Iman eating the browse hung inside the night stall, but bad weather in Lahad Datu, poses a problem for staff to collect her favourite leaves.

“At the moment we are maintaining her with nutritious food and supplements. We have been keeping watch on her for 24 hours each day since December 14.

“The weather too has not been easy for the keepers gathering her food each morning,” he added.

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