Darted nyala gives veterinarian a nasty poke

2014-05-01 00:00

A NYALA bull took down two grown men with him, stabbing one in the thigh, as they wrestled with the buck which had been darted, but refused to be sedated.

W.P. de Jager, the manager of the Shelanti Private Nature Reserve, about two hours north of Bela-Bela in Limpopo, was knocked unconscious during the wrestling.

Veterinarian Dr Hendrik Hansen (44) was bleeding from a 15 cm deep stab wound in the thigh but first had to help De Jager regain consciousness before he could drive the long road to Bela-Bela for medical attention.

Hansen, De Jager and two high school pupils, a teenage boy and girl who want to study veterinarian sciences, had been sedating nyalas all day to move them to other camps on the farm.

The bull that refused to go down was their last bull for the day and was darted at about 5 pm. It approached the humans as all the other bulls had done, but this one’s knees did not buckle.

Hansen said the nyala was about two metres from them when he darted it. “After about three or four minutes the bull walked to W.P. It is what they normally do. W.P. took hold of a horn and to guide it to lay down. The nyala then started bucking and I grabbed the other horn to help quieten the nyala.

“It threw both of us, turned and started dragging us,” said Hansen.

He said the next moment the buck jumped over them and speared its horn into his thigh.

“The nyala pulled its head back to free its horn and ran off,” said Hansen.

Megan Bosch (15), a Grade 10 pupil at Afrikaanse Hoër Meisie School in Pretoria, saw it all happen.

She and Jean-Pierre de la Rey, a Grade 11 pupil at Waterkloof Hoërskool, also in Pretoria, helped the men.

“When the wrestling started I took photos but the next moment uncle Hendrik shouted, ‘Eina! My leg!’

“He and uncle W.P. let go of the bull and it ran off. Uncle W.P. then turned as white as a sheet of paper and laid down on the grass,” said Megan.

She said there was a long scratch on De Jager’s leg and they first thought he had been scratched by the dart.

“I was about to inject him with the antidote when he regained consciousness,” said Hansen.

Megan then helped to tie up Hansen’s leg and he then drove himself to Bela-Bela with the pupils as passengers. He spend yesterday in hospital being treated for the wound.

Megan said despite the incident she still wants to become a veterinarian. “It is my passion and each sport has its injuries,” she laughed.

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