On Monday morning a team of veterinarians and game capture experts including the famous rhino expert Dr William Fowlds arrived at the Kragga Kamma Game Park just outside Port Elizabeth.
Their aim was to remove the re-growth of the rhinos whose horns had grown back after being removed in 2012.
Intelligence that rhino poachers in the eastern Cape led to the decision to give the rhinos what amounts to a horn pedicure.
The animals were individually darted and as the animals start weakening the well trained team moved in.
Using ropes the animal’s movements were restrained and as the animal settled to the ground, it is manoeuvred in such a way so that it does not injure itself in the process.
The vets and the team then move in. All the animals’ vital signs are monitored and a great care is taken to ensure that the animal does not suffer undue stress.
Various samples are taken including blood as the owners are curious to find out if one of the females might be pregnant!
The horn stumps are carefully measured and marked to ensure that the cutting off of the horn does not cause distress or pain.
While humans would use nail-clippers to trim their nails, a chain-saw has to be used to remove the horn growth and an angle grinder is used to smooth down the edges.
It is sad that Rhinos have to be dehorned in the first place and that, when the horn starts growing back, the animals have to undergo the same procedure to protect them from poachers.
It is a stressful time for both the owners and the Rhinos.
We are glad to report that the rhinos have coped well with their ordeal and hope this deters criminals from threatening them in the future.
By: Luc Hosten