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South Africa dehorns dozens of rhinos to prevent lockdown poaching surge

South Africa dehorns dozens of rhinos to prevent lockdown poaching surge
  • Absence of vacationers could also be encouraging rhino poachers
  • On World Environment Day, species extinction a scorching problem
  • Dehorning makes rhinos much less enticing to poachers

PILANESBURG: South Africa has dehorned dozens of rhinos in three widespread recreation parks, aiming to forestall armed poachers benefiting from the post-COVID-19 crash in tourism to kill them for his or her horns.

The train in Pilanesburg National Park and the Mafikeng and Botsalano recreation reserves — all northwest of Johannesburg — leaves the rhinos with horn rumps too small for poachers to hassle with, Nico Jacobs, helicopter pilot and founding member of non-profit Rhino 911 advised Reuters.

As Jacobs flew a helicopter over Pilanesburg final month with Reuters journalists, they noticed a lioness consuming the carcass of a rhino that had been poached days earlier. Experts worry the absence of vacationers could have already got spurred a poaching spike.

They proceeded to a spot the place they tranquilised a feminine rhino earlier than eradicating her horn with an electrical noticed. One of her calves needed to be restrained.

Working with authorities, they started dehorning three years in the past. Jacobs stated that they had since seen a drop in poaching. The numbers of rhinos within the parks, and what number of have been poached, are stored secret to guard them.

“I’ve seen so many slaughtered, butchered rhinos. What is the answer?” he stated. “For them (poachers) to return when there’s lions, elephants … It’s an excessive amount of danger for that little piece,” he stated.

As the world marks World Environment Day on Friday, the risk from people to different species’ survival — and in the end our personal — is a rising concern to conservationists.

On Monday, scientists printed a examine exhibiting that people are inflicting mass extinction on a scale unseen since a meteor worn out the land dinosaurs 65 million years in the past, the sixth large-scale extinction in Earth’s historical past.

Rhinos have been round for 30 million years, however many years of looking and habitat loss have lowered their numbers to about 27,000 right this moment, in line with the International Rhino Foundation. A poaching surge has worn out hundreds previously three years. “In order to … give the inhabitants an opportunity to develop once more, we have to relieve the strain on them … (by) dehorning,” Pieter Nel, performing head of conservation of the North West Parks board, stated.

Rhino horn sells for $60,000 a kilogram, greater than cocaine or gold. In East Asia, it’s utilized in medicinal potions, regardless of containing the identical key part as human fingernails.

Dehorning is controversial, particularly because it makes male rhinos susceptible in fights. But they don’t seem to be important for survival, and, like fingernails, they develop again.


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