BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 28 June, 2000, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Rheumatic bracelet for 'horny' rhino
Thelma the injured rhino
Thelma was injured after a "dangerous liaison"
A rhinoceros which suffers from rheumatism has been fitted with a copper necklace and bracelet to ease its pain.

The 30-year-old southern white rhino has been suffering from the condition since last year, when Winston the bull rhino injured her while trying to mate.

Thelma, weighing in at 2.5 tonnes, did not respond to traditional treatments on her shoulder and foot, and so staff at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire decided to try an alternative approach.


Passion between two huge rhinos can be very robust and from time to time they receive injuries

Head warden Keith Harris

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 firm that specialised in using copper to treat rheumatism and arthritis and explained the situation."

The firm, Forbes Copper, based near Blandford, Dorset, has been treating horses, dogs and other animals with copper for more than 30 years.

It designed the jewellery specially for Thelma so that it would survive close contact with her three companions Gin Gin, Babs and Winston.
Copper bracelet around ankle
The bracelet works in the same way as for humans

A spokesman for the firm, 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."

Thelma's keeper says the treatment appears to be working, as she is now walking more easily.

'Robust passion'

Mr Harris said: "The collective name for a group of rhinos is a clash, which is particularly appropriate, especially for their love lives.

"Passion between two huge rhinos can be very robust and from time to time they receive injuries.

"I must say she looks quite sweet in all her new finery, I think I might buy her some earrings for her birthday."

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

Thelma, who should survive well into her 40s, moved to Longleat from Windsor Safari Park after its closure.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Stephen Rea
"Thelma is certainly enjoying being centre of attention"
See also:

15 Jul 99 | Science/Nature
01 Nov 99 | Science/Nature
18 Mar 99 | Science/Nature
17 Dec 98 | Science/Nature
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes