Preserve owner burned rescuing rhino from brush fire

 
24 April 2017

published by http://www.wtsp.com


USA -  COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- A rhino is back in his enclosure after a man had to rescue it from raging brush fires last week.

The fire spared Shy Wolf Sanctuary, but down the road it burned through the woods outside of Ngala Wildlife Preserve.

Donovan Smith, president and CEO of the preserve, stayed to protect animals that couldn't be rescued and suffered second-degree burns on 20 percent of his body.

He is being treated in the burn unit at Tampa General Hospital.

“I just wanted to thank you for all the extreme kindness and generosity,” Smith said in a video posted to his Facebook page. “It’s amazin’, I'm blown away and really humbled.

Click here to donate to his Go Fund Me

“Hopefully, I'll get better over the next couple of days. I’m on the road to recovery.”

Volunteers had to move 60 animals out of the Shy Wolf Sanctuary.

Sanctuary president Deanna Deppen got word they needed to evacuate.

“It was terrifying for our volunteers. Many of the animals - are wild,” she said.

“So we can't leash them, pet them so we had to pull sedate many of them. And when you're doing it in a controlled panic situation.”

Volunteers took the animals to other rescue facilities in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

Deppen even took some home where she has a few enclosures.