Friday, December 17, 2010

Caiman Got Waterdog!

From the Karanambu Trust Website:
"Diane has offered refuge to injured or orphaned wildlife.  Sadly, the animal that appeared most often was one of the most endangered: the Giant Otter.  By necessity, Diane became a world expert on the care and rehabilitation of this species.  She has raised over 40 orphaned otter cubs, returning most of them to the wild for a chance at freedom" 

"Waterdog" is the local name for the Giant River Otter. Currently, we have 2 one year old orphaned otter cubs at Karanambu.  
Martien came flying up the path from the river on his bicycle….
”Caiman Got Waterdog”.  So we all took off full speed for the river. Of course just when Diane was not here. I just kept thinking how am I going to tell Diane. When I got there the caiman had just let Philip go, and he was swimming back to the bank. I kept calling him and encouraging him. I could tell he was hurt and very tired. He dragged himself out the water and up the bank, dragging his back legs. He crawled under a bush and allowed me to sit right next to him and just pet him and calm him down and talk to him. Meanwhile the boys were trying to coax Belle out of the bush where she had taken off after the attack. 
The otters had been across the river and were swimming back over because they heard a boat coming. Philip was in front, Belle right behind. The caiman just came out of nowhere and snatched Philip. He went down with him, which is what they do in an effort to drown their victim. But I think Philip was biting him seriously and he came up with him three times. Meanwhile, Jasper who was at the river as their guard got into a boat and rowed over furiously and whacked the caiman in the head with the heavy wood paddle and the caiman loosed Philip.
Belle eating a Fish
We were able to talk to Dr Lucy on skype and take pictures of Philip's wound to send to her. She is a wildlife Vet and the secretary of the Karanambu Trust. But, how to get him up from the river was the next problem. He would not eat but after an hour or so of me talking and calming him down we were able to walk him up slowly. He was able, with much coaxing, to eat two pieces of fish so I was hopeful. I had a good look at his injury. One puncture just in front of the right back leg and some long scratches around the leg. The caiman had him by the back and not the head as he would have been finished. Lucy recommended baby aspirin. I stayed with him throughout and he was a real sweetheart. What a change from his normal biting vicious self.
He is starting to put his weight on the leg now and is moving around much better. Think he will have a limp for the rest of his life, but he is alive. This afternoon after no river for six days we took them down to the river and he was great. We went slow at his pace. He would not go too far out, but seems to be swimming good. Of course there were three caiman lurking on the other side of the river. Jasper said the big one looks like the same one. We stockpiled a set of large stones and had the boat at the ready. We are going to have to deal with the big one as he or she is very brazen.. Philip even caught a small fish, so it is looking good.. Phew that was a close one. Luckily the boats were there and not on a trip or I do not think it might have turned out as ok as it did.

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