Rhino dehorned to keep poachers at bay

Posted by Adrian Brown on 24 November 2020

In the last few years, there has been a rapid growth in rhino poaching. In 2011 in South Africa alone, 448 rhinos were poached for their horns and as of mid-2012, over 300 have been poached, according to Save the Rhino.

Over the past decade, nearly 10 000 African rhinos have been lost to poaching.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the shutdown, rhino killings have dropped by 53% in the first six months of 2020 as poachers could not access the rhinos or use any kind of transport to travel.

Rhino dehorned to keep poachers at bay

Rhinos are dehorned to deter poachers.

In 2020, 166 rhinos were poached during the first half of the year, compared to 316 at the same time last year. Of the rhinos killed this year, nearly three-quarters happened before the lockdown.

In an attempt to keep the poachers at bay, rhinos are dehorned in many parts of the country.

A female rhino was dehorned on Tuesday morning [November 24].

‘What we are trying to do is sort of decrease the benefit to the poacher. We have multiple other mechanisms by which we try and fight and prevent poaching and catch poachers, so the dehorning on its own is not a silver bullet. It is just another layer of anti-poaching that we put on top of everything else to try and make the risk for the poacher higher and his return less,’ explained veterinarian Dr Peter Buss according to The Lowvelder. 

This is how the process goes:

– Track down the rhino.

– When the animal is found, it is guided to an access road so that people on the ground have access to it.

– Once it is within a reasonable distance, the people will dart the animal.

– A team member on the scene keeps track of the time that the rhino spends incapacitated.

– if all goes well, the procedure takes about 20 minutes.

‘Rhinos’ horns grow back at about roughly 10 centimetres a year,’ said Buss. ‘It is not that fast, but usually in about 18 months, two years, they have grown sufficiently that justifies dehorning them again.’

Picture: Getaway Gallery

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