A Brit trampled on by a rhino in South Africa has described the “ugly encounter” from his hospital bed.
Scots student Kieran Munns said he is recovering after the horror attack in Northern Zululand, South Africa on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old, whose family are from Livingston, has been studying in the country for the past two years at Bhejane Nature Training, and had hoped to join a special team protecting the beasts.
Kieran was carrying out a foot patrol when the animal charged at him and he somehow emerged without serious injuries, he told the Daily Record.
The student said he suffered a bang on the head after one of the massive animals attacked and was then trampled on by the mother rhino’s young calf.
A search and rescue operation was launched and paramedics rushed Kieran to hospital – but he has vowed to never stop helping animals in need.
Speaking from his hospital bed in Africa, Kieran described how he would continue in his conservation efforts and held no grudges against rhinos after the incident.
He said: “I have been studying in South Africa for almost two years and had the opportunity to be part of the rhino monitoring team for the morning.
“This is an important part of rhino conservation for which I am passionate and want to be heavily involved.
“It’s true that unfortunately the encounter turned ugly due [to] unfortunate but uncontrollable circumstances and was I injured.
“But nothing more than a bang to the head from falling from the mother and my hip getting injured by being stepped on by a young calf which was with the mother black rhino.
“No serious injuries have occurred. I’m not fighting for my life, no surgery is needed and I’m making a rapid recovery.
“I absolutely love what I do and have no negative feelings towards the innocent and how it was dealt with, I still love and adore all animals including black rhino and look forward to being back in the field as soon as I’m able.
“My colleagues have been exceptional.”
He added: “Of course it’s scary in the moment, but I have no negative thoughts about the whole incident and super keen to get back out there.”
A post on social media from the IPSS medical rescue service said that he was being treated at Zulu-Natal hospital.
It read: “A Scottish student has been critically injured following an encounter with a black rhino, in Northern Zululand.
“IPSS Medical Rescue was contacted and informed that the game ranger student had been on foot in a private reserve when he was trampled and gored by the rhino.
“The incident occurred earlier today and prompted a search and rescue operation by IPSS Search and Rescue as well as anti-poaching units in the area. The student was located and preparations for evacuation were initiated.
“The student was stabilised before being transported in a critical condition by road, by KZN Private EMS.”
Kieran publicly thanked his rescuers and assured everyone he was ok.
He commented: “Hi my name is Kieran I’m the student who was involved in the incident.
“I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who was involved, it’s heartwarming to see people who are willing to help the way you guys did.
“All is well thank the Lord, no serious injuries and could potentially be let out later today.
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“As an extra note, I have absolutely no negative comments about the incident. I love what I’m doing, still will continue as soon as I’m able.
“I still absolutely love black rhinos and look forward to seeing them again. Just maybe not as close.”
Black rhinos can be fearsome creatures that live throughout large swathes of Africa and can weigh up to 220 stones.
When they attract an unusual scent they will often charge, according to National Geographic.
Bad eye sight can lead them to charging objects like trees thinking they are threats.
Sadly they are a favourite of poachers who value their horns and they are listed as ‘critically endangered’.