West Lothian student trampled by rare black rhino in South Africa

A West Lothian student is recovering after having been trampled upon by a rhino in South Africa.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 4:45 pm
Kieran Munns was rushed to hospital after the incident but refuses to give up on the endangered species.

Kieran Munns was rushed to hospital after the incident but refuses to give up on the endangered species and is ready to get back out in the field.

The 21-year-old student, who hails from West Lothian, was attacked by the rare black rhino while carrying out conservation work and helping the endangered animals.

While carrying out a foot patrol in Northern Zululand, a mother rhino charged and banged him on the head. Her young calf then trampled him while he was on the ground.

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Kieran Munns, from Livingston, was rushed to hospital from the Bhejane Nature Training reserve where the incident took place.

He sustained a dislocated hip and severe bruising but said he “got off lightly” in the life or death situation with the wild animal.

Kieran is now recovering at his base camp in South Africa, after spending less than 24 hours in hospital where his hip was put back in place. He said: “I’m in quite a bit of pain, but there was nothing the hospital could do except pain management.”

The animals are known for their "attack-first" attitude when they catch an unfamiliar scent. The group of eight said it was unlucky the rhinos picked up their scent, which led the mother rhino to become protective which is how the accident occurred.

The Scottish student said: “I had the opportunity to walk with the rhino monitoring team at the serve I study at. Rhino monitoring is very important to keep track of the health of the endangered animals, so I was very excited to be part of it.”

Kieran explained: “When the animals picked up our scent we dispersed to safety and I pushed a couple of lads behind a tree but didn’t get myself covered in time.

“I got pushed by the mother against the tree, fell to the ground and as she came for a second charge her young calf ran over my legs.”

He stated: “I have no negative feelings towards the incident. It’s part of the job which I love and I’m still super keen to get back out there and involved as much as I can be.”

Wednesday’s encounter won’t stop Kieran from doing what he loves as he remains committed to helping endangered species and cannot wait to get back out in the field to build on his two years of work with the animals.

Kieran said: “As soon as I’m able to walk properly, I’ll be back in the field.”

He added: “My plans now are to finish my studies this year and then hopefully join a rhino conservancy or become a dog trainer for the anti-poaching effort.”

Black rhinos are on the 'critically endangered' list and are often targeted by poachers for their horns.

Almost 98 per cent of the species was wiped out but heroic conservation efforts have seen their numbers double in the last 25 years to more than 5,600.

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