Anti-poaching heroes: Rhino calf comforted by vet while mother de-horned

A rhino. Image: Pxhere.

Anita Froneman, Getaway | October 18, 2021

One of the measures often taken by authorities to deter rhino poachers is to de-horn rhinos. This is an unfortunate action but can save an animal’s life.

Recently, SANParks shared a video of a concerned rhino calf, nervously watching as a conservation team de-horned its mother. A kind-hearted veterinarian then calmly reassured the youngster.

‘Appreciation Post: Baby Rhino gets reassured by the Vets as they prepare to dehorn Mommy to save her life from potential poachers,’ SANParks wrote on Facebook. ‘Thank you for your gentle care and support for the future of conservation.’

The de-horning process takes place while the animal is sedated and is painless. The sedatives also have no lasting effects on the rhino, and a team of qualified staff are at hand to monitor the animal while every step is taken to ensure its safety. ‘The horn which has been removed is marked and immediately moved to an undisclosed secure location, usually a bank vault,’ says Wildlife ACT.

‘Once the operation is completed, the veterinarian administers the reversal antidote to wake the animal, and the ground crew moves off to a safe distance. The veterinarian positions himself strategically to observe the animal coming around and ensures that the individual makes a full recovery before leaving it. The whole rhino dehorning procedure, from when the dart goes in to administering the reversal drug, takes approximately 30 minutes.’

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