LATEST: Intensive Care For Iman, As Sumatran Rhino Hangs On To Her Life

 

Iman receives intravenous supplements by her handlers at her night stall at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu. – All photos courtesy of the Sabah Wildlife Department

By AUGUSTINE TUUGA
KOTA KINABALU: Despite coaxing Iman – Sabah’s last female Sumatran rhinocerous – to come into the night stall for treatment she continues to remain inside her mud wallow in the paddock.

The wallow apparently is her comfort zone and she charges at whoever comes close.

Every time she does that though, she would bleed profusely from her tumours.

AUGUSTINE TUUGA

Her condition (bleeding from the tumours inside the uterus) causes her pain and discomfort. The pain also caused her to go off feed and water completely.

While inside her wallow we only managed to give steroids on two consecutive days to reduce inflammation, pain and discomfort, with the hope she would come inside for further treatment.

She is grossly dehydrated and pale.

Finally, on December 18, we managed to coax her to move further from the wallow allowing us to quickly close it off with black shade netting and sand bags. Subsequently we got her to come into her night stall.

A veterinarian from the SWD gives Iman a close check up.

She refused food but took in a lot of water mixed with vitamins and minerals. Once in the chute, a rectal examination also revealed severe constipation from not consuming water for the past four days.

All hard stools were removed.

The bleeding was also severe, especially when she strained to defecate. She was started on fluid therapy and intravenous supplements. She was also given antibiotics and non-steroid anti-inflammatory intravenously. She urinated few hours later.

The bleeding was still obvious especially when she strained to defecate or while lying down. She was monitored continuously for 24 hours every day. She vocalized while in the night stall. She also did not consume the foliage hung inside her night stall.

On the morning of December 19 (Tuesday), she more quiet and drank less water. She urinated once. No food eaten. Blood still oozes out from her vagina.

We started on intravenous fluids and supplements (10 liters) in addition to antibiotics, anti- inflammatory and some drugs to increase gut motility. We also gave retention enema. Another load of constipated fecal materials was also removed.

Iman has refused to eat the foliage hung in her night stall.

She will be given about 10 to 15 liters of intravenous fluids and supplements daily. She will be monitored throughout the day and night. Rectal exam and ultrasound exam will be carried out tomorrow (Wednesday). We will encourage her to consume foliage and fruits.

Her prognosis is grave as she continues to bleed daily and refuses to eat her normal food.

Although we managed to remove more of the constipated faeces we still have not seen her consuming the food offered or hung up for her. We are also not certain if she has compacted colon or caecum in which case would add to her grave prognosis.

• Augustine Tuuga is Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department

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