Friday, 19th August 2016
A chainsaw sputters to life and its loud hum fills the air. Two black rhinos – a mother and her calf – lie helplessly on the ground. They tremble a bit, though never move from where they have fallen. A helicopter takes off and buzzes above us before speeding away, its heavy blades chopping through the sky. The mother is an exemplary rhino; her primary horn is long and curved like a crescent moon and her secondary horn is tall and straight, almost matching the first horn in length.
Today, both the mother and the calf will lose their horns because of rhino poaching. There are, however, two crucial factors that affect today’s outcome. The first is that the rhinos will walk away from this experience with their lives and the second is that the process is performed by a highly skilled wildlife veterinarian and an accompanying team of conservation professionals – the very people who dedicate their careers and lives to protecting these animals. The Zululand Rhino Reserve (ZRR), located in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is in the midst of the process of dehorning all of their rhinos. The reserve is not alone in this decision and rhinos all over the country are having their horns removed by the very humans who are trying to protect them. Read more.