AG Secret Season Safari

Video: Call for funding to de-horn rhinos for conservation

De-horned white rhino

© Chris Galliers

Press release compiled by Nicola Gerrard of loveAfrica Marketing for Project Rhino

Project Rhino, an association of like-minded organisations established in 2011 that facilitates vital rhino conservation interventions, is making a national and international call for funding to have approximately 200 rhino de-horned in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa over the next year. De-horning is seen as a temporary measure to prevent the killing of a rhino for its horn by poachers. It is an ongoing process, as the horn regrows after removal.

The province has lost close on 200 rhino this year, compared to 162 rhino in 2016. While these figures are alarming, the de-horning intervention has achieved positive results over the last two years since it was initiated in a many of the private reserves in KZN. For five years since 2011, the rhinos poached on private reserves made up 24% of the total lost in the provinces. Since de-horning started, this number has dropped to an average of 4.5% over the past two years.

Removing a rhino horn for conservation

© Chris Galliers

“Although by no means a silver bullet, the de-horning efforts of rhino have proved a very effective tool in deflecting poachers. We recognise this is not necessarily a tool that can be applied to all reserves such as those with big populations and therefore unable to deploy such a strategy, but on the smaller reserves, it can prove effective. The reserves with larger populations, however, will require our full and ongoing support as they may take the brunt of this deflection strategy,” said Dr. Simon Morgan, Director of WildlifeACT and Project Rhino Founder member.

The de-horning process is conducted by an experienced wildlife veterinarian and a team of specialists whereby the rhino is sedated, and the horn is removed and shaped to take off as much horn material as possible in a quick and painless procedure. Chris Galliers, Project Rhino co-ordinator, said that “Our member reserves, who are made up of private, community and state owned reserves, have communicated to Project Rhino that one of their greatest needs is to de-horn all their rhino and to continue to maintain the horns as short as possible”.

Up-close of chainsaw and rhino horn

© Chris Galliers

Project Rhino has conducted 25 horn removals on rhino from KZN reserves since June this year, costing a total of R200,000. The organisation is now faced with overwhelming requests to conduct over 200 horn removals in KZN which will cost approximately R1.6 million. At an average of R7,000-8,000 per rhino, the costs quickly add up and have been further exacerbated by other budget demands and budget cuts to many Rhino Reserves.

One of the ways to achieve this is to offer both local and international members of the public, a chance to be directly involved in this critical conservation work. The payment towards this experience will contribute directly to a current and vital conservation intervention. Project Rhino wants to encourage everyone, from individuals to large corporate businesses, to get involved in this project and join in the fundraising efforts, noting the benefit of issuing tax deductible 18a certificates on every donation made.

White rhino under sedation after de-horning

© Chris Galliers

“Wildlands and Somkhanda have made the decision to de-horn its rhino and found it to be very effective in devaluing the horn and increasing the risk to poachers. It is not something we like to do but we have taken this proactive stance as a temporary measure which gives us more time to work on other important systems that are used to protect our rhino,” said Dave Gilroy, strategic manager – conservation at Wildlands Conservation Trust.

Watch this short video below to find out more about de-horning:


News Desk

A collection of current affairs articles and press releases from third party sources.

  • daktari40

    Interesting but not very effective in a global conservation strategy for rhinos. Poachers kill any rhino that is tracked. And the horns, do what with them since they can not be sold in the international market, sell in the domestic market. Livestock breeding of rhinos is an ethical activity, there are no deaths, it is painless, and should have high conservation value. Let’s take a look at the famous John Hume, owner of 1,500 rhinoceros on his 8,000 hectare farm, his rhinos live in open spaces, more than 95% of babies are raised by their mothers despite the 8 year crisis without the domestic market open he did not sell animals for trophy hunting, not to mention the cost safely (around 80,000 dollars a month) and conservationists say the same is an “economic speculator, a rhinoceros explorer.” I have never seen anything so badly explained, as not to call Hume a conservationist if he has 1500 rhinoceros that can be relocated, reintroduced, translocated anywhere. Comparing the market for rhino with ivory is proof of bad faith, elephants will never have their ivory extracted in live animals, they are different conservation strategies. The argument that the legal sale of rhinoceros horns will provoke high demand is pure speculation. It is necessary to do the right thing first and foremost, and every animal at risk of extinction needs captive breeding and, therefore, it is necessary to give economic value to this conservation. If the domestic market stays in the SA, in the next 5 years new breeders and old ones will again invest in rhinos, in the next 10 to 15 years other countries, notably Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and even Mozambique may have their private creations of rhinos already fully established and in 20 or 25 years the population will increase to numbers now unthinkable. This does not exempt what judicial measures need to improve today, combat must tackle “international economic demands” and domestic corruption. There are more than 6,000 rhinos killed in SA alone in the last 10 years. It is clear that this model of conservation is bankrupt !!!!

Okavango Walking Chiefs Island
Wildshot Safari
Africa Geographic