It is with great sadness that we make this announcement.
Puntung is dying of cancer.
The swelling on Puntung’s left cheek that alerted us to the infected tooth root had a more serious origin. The cancer has been spreading rapidly over the past few weeks. Specialists from several countries concur that it will be fatal, with or without treatment.
As of today, Puntung can no longer breathe through her left nostril, she can no longer vocalise, she is in pain and her condition is declining fast. Other than administering painkillers, there is nothing more anyone can do. Accordingly, the government has authorized euthanasia. This was a very difficult decision to make, but this is the best out of a very small number of unpleasant choices.
This is devastating news for all of those who have been involved in Puntung’s life over the past ten years, from those in SOS Rhino who monitored her wild in the Tabin forests since 2007, those who captured her in 2011, to those who cared for daily and still care for her right up to now.
We thank the many people – from our kind sponsors, to our staff who’re providing intensive care to her, and to all of you – who heartened us with their good wishes in April and financial support for the dental surgery and follow-up work.
We have kept in close touch with experts in Europe, South Africa and Thailand, and there is no doubt in our minds that any form of conventional treatment would just prolong her agony. We are also making preparations to try to recover eggs or oocytes from Puntung. With that, she may yet be able to contribute to the survival of her species.
Till then, we will provide her the very best of care, and help to minimize her suffering. By making her as comfortable as possible, we hope to ease the great pain we feel as well.