The San Diego Fire-Rescue Bomb Squad was sent to the San Diego Zoo this week to aid a novice resident: southern white rhino Wallis. The behemoth animal arrived at the zoo in November 2015 from South Africa, suffering from an unknown wound. As time went on, the rhino was unable to heal, leading experts to believe the 5-year-old female was shot by poachers.
The bomb squad was called in to use an incredibly powerful metal detector to pinpoint metal shrapnel from a bullet found in the 3,000-pound Wallis. With the help of zoo veterinarian Dr. Jim Oosterhuis, they were able to efficiently remove the bullet from the hide of the rhino.
“I reached into the wound with my Leatherman tool, grasped the object, made a quick jerking motion, and out popped the bullet fragment with jagged edges,” Oosterhuis said in a zoo press release. “It feels great to know that we finally have found what we believe to be the source of her infection. By having the fragment work itself out, it eliminated the need for surgery.”
Zookeeper officials especially noted that if it was not for the assistance of the bomb squad, they may have never located the buried bullet within Wallis.
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