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SOS Rhino : In the News : Archived News : June 2000 : Necklace eases pain for rheumatic rhino

Necklace eases pain for rheumatic rhino

By Nicky Burridge, PA News
Press Association Newsfile
June 28, 2000

- A rare white rhinoceros which suffers from rheumatism has been fitted with a copper necklace and bracelet to ease its pain.

Thelma, a 30-year-old southern white rhino, has been suffering from the condition for almost a year following an over-amorous approach to mate by a bull rhino called Winston.

Thelma, weighing in at 2.5 tonnes, developed the condition in her shoulder and foot after being injured in her encounter with three tonne Winston.

After traditional medical treatments failed to work staff at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire decided to try an alternative approach.

Head warden Keith Harris said: "I had heard about copper neck chains being used to treat horses with arthritis and thought that if that works for them, there's no reason why it shouldn't also be able to help rhinos.

"We found a Dorset-based firm that specialised in using copper to treat rheumatism and arthritis and explained the situation."

The firm, Forbes Copper, which has been treating horses, dogs and other animals with copper for more than 30 years, designed the jewellery specially for Thelma so that it would survive close contact with her three companions Gin Gin, Babs and Winston.

Spokesman David Clayton said: "This is definitely the most unusual request we have had to deal with so far but we were delighted to get involved and have every hope that Thelma's new jewellery will help relieve her symptoms."

The new treatment seems to be working, as Thelma's keeper has reported that she is now walking more easily.

Southern white rhinos are becoming increasing rare in the wild as a result of poaching, and it is estimated that there are now only 8,000 worldwide.



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