Volunteers get involved in rhino de-horning

17 July 2015

On our Hands-on Rhino Conservation Programme this July, lucky volunteers were privileged to witness the dehorning of five rhinos in Zimbabwe.

  

The project have dehorned their rhinos every two years for nearly two decades, to try and safeguard their precious charges against poaching. We all wish we lived in a world where this precaution was not necessary, but the project believes that dehorning gives their rhino the best chance of survival against an increasingly aggressive poaching threat.

The dehorning is supervised by highly trained and experienced veterinarians and assisted by handlers, game park staff and of course, volunteers and programme staff. The dehorning allows the project's vets an additional opportunity to do other vital checks on the rhino, ensuring they are in perfect health. Although the process seems gruesome, it is not painful for the rhino and they recover from the procedure very rapidly, with no after effects.  

  

Dehorning is not widely carried out but is a method which is becoming increasingly popular in the ongoing war on rhino poaching. In Zimbabwe all dehorning procedures are monitored by the Department of National Parks & Wildlife, and the horn and horn fragments are removed from the conservancy and locked away in a secure vault.

For more about rhino poaching in Southern Africa, take a look at this article from November 2014: "The radical veterinarians trying to dehorn rhinos before the poachers can"

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