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How to stop rhino poaching - Poison rhino horns

20/04/2011 11:19:43

The recent attack on this rhino, which was shot several times and dehorned, has prompted outrage.

After some recent horrific attacks on rhinos - A new idea to stop rhino poaching

Courtesy of Johnny Rodrigues - Chairman of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force 

April 2011. Last week we reported the dehorning by poachers of a rhino in the Save Conservancy. The most horrifying aspect of this atrocity was that the mutilated rhino did not die in the attack and was left wandering around in agony. Coincidentally, as seen on the South African TV programme, Carte Blanche last Sunday, a very similar incident happened in South Africa recently where the horns were hacked out of a rhino and it was also left alive. The footage was extremely upsetting.

Dehorning - Limited success and other issues
Various methods are employed to try and prevent rhino from falling prey to poachers but the slaughter and maiming of this endangered species continues unabated. Dehorning is quite a popular method but this doesn't seem to deter the poachers. The rhinos endure a certain amount of stress in the dehorning exercise and once their horn has been removed, they no longer have that defence mechanism. In the case of female rhinos, when they give birth to a calf, they need the horn to help the newborn rhino to its feet. The other disadvantage of dehorning is that the horn grows back and the dehorning process has to be repeated on a regular basis throughout the rhino's lifetime.

Poisoning rhino horns
Instead of spending money on dehorning, we believe that the best and most cost effective way to minimize the poaching and try to prevent the extinction of the species is to administer poison to the horns. This was done by a farmer in South Africa and he says the poison, whilst deadly to humans, has no effect whatsoever on the rhino. This may seem like a drastic measure but the only way to prevent rhino poaching is to discourage people from buying it and it would only need to be done once to each rhino. Signs could be erected where rhinos are kept warning poachers that the horns are poisoned. Warnings could also be issued through media campaigns worldwide and the word would soon get around that consumption of rhino horn could prove fatal.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

Totally agree with Robert

Killing the poachers is the only solution for this. Stop spending money on trying to convince people about the importance of wild life maintenance, just kill the killers.

Posted by: Junior | 17 Jan 2013 15:13:45

Robert King

I e-mailed you last week with my solution to this horrible situation.....kill the poachers. I do not care how poor they are or how many mouths they have to feed. Murdering these poor creatures and dismembering their bodies is Devilish. It is horrible beyond words.

My God Bless the Rangers! Do whatever it takes to force the political change that results in the arming of the Rangers with night vision equipment and automative weapons. Kill the poachers where they sleep in camp. This has been proven to work. Of course my “afterconcern” is that the night vision equipment will fall into the hands of the poachers.

Your idea of poisoning the horns may be a good one. Or it may not be. Has it been researched to any extent or is it a seemingly good idea? I am confused when you say that the toxin is deadly to humans and not to wildlife. What is the toxin’s name?

Although I do not work in my chosen field at this time....I am a professional Wildlife Biologist. I am very cautious about jumping to conclusions when proposing the introduction of any foreign agent to a natural system.

Can the poison be used by the decidedly Evil people (and if you have not noticed.....they are there!) in any way toward their own horrible intentions?

What is the life of the toxin?

Again I say.......Kill the poachers! Hunt the poachers! Kill them!

Posted by: robert king | 23 Apr 2011 16:52:57

Excellent idea but ...

Poisoning rhino horns is an excellent idea but will it work.

The poachers are in it for the money not to consume horn. The end consumer will rightly(?) suffer and it's only when enough people have died will the demand for rhino horn start to diminish. This will eventually reach the poachers but by that time the rhino could be extinct.

Now if the poison was absorbed through the skin it could stop the poachers in their tracks!

Posted by: David Beard | 22 Apr 2011 18:47:27

Less cost and less stress for the rhinos

This sounds a far more effective way of reducing poaching of rhino horns, especially after the recent shocking case of the poachers cutting out the stubbs of the horns. As long as there is no risk to the rhinos that are treated with poison in their horns, I think that this could be a cheap and effeciant solution.

Posted by: colin guest | 21 Apr 2011 18:32:38

It's the only practical, immediate solution. Educating the public about rhino conservation is long term and tedious and doesn't work on poachers anyway.
Sometimes drastic problems require drastic solutions.

Posted by: Kenneth Lapointe | 21 Apr 2011 13:31:16

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