Wildlife activists have begun dehorning endangered rhinos in order to protect them from poachers.
WARNING: Contains graphic images of rhinos
As travel restrictions in South Africa are beginning to ease, the authorities have warned about the upcoming rise in poachers that will make their way to the country in search of exotic hunting opportunities.
To protect endangered rhinos from poachers, conservationists in the country have started dehorning rhinos across game reserves in order to make them look less appealing to hunters who are after their precious horns.
According to the reports, helicopters are used to locate and track rhinos whereas land teams are deployed to tranquilize the beasts.
Once the animals are sedated, wildlife workers move in to remove their horns and, in some cases, paint them so that they lose their black-market value.
While the solution may seem extreme, the organization known as Rhino 911 believes this is currently their only way to protect the rhinos from poachers.
As Mankwe Wildlife Reserve’s Dr. Lynne MacTavish explained, she had never even considered dehorning as an option until the year 2014 when one of the rhinos she’d been looking after was “poached in the most brutal way.”
Since then, her support for dehorning has risen as it might be the only way currently available to conservationists to protect the endangered species.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the poaching of rhinos in the country increased by 9,000% between the years 2007 and 2014, leaving the species in danger of extinction.
While the government didn’t reveal the exact number of rhinos that have been dehorned during lockdown, the numbers are believed to be in the hundreds.
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