Hooo-Hooo Volume 10, Nr 3 - Page 19

An average amount of over 1.2kg was removed in this small single population of white rhino. All the animals shown are 2 years and older (younger animals were dehorned, but not part of the stats). Almost 3kg of horn could still be removed in the 12-year-old bull. It is no wonder poachers still kill rhino that was dehorned by the conventional square cut method. Figure 8: The use of protective shields, in a range of different sizes, provides both safety to the operator and the rhino and aids in achieving a much lower profile as one is able to cut closer to the rhino’s head without injuring the animal. Why is the Kock and Morkel method so much more effective in preventing poaching as compared to the conventional square cut? The obvious answer is the end result of the dehorning procedure – a low profile look. Compare Figure 1 with Figure 6 and the difference becomes obvious. The reality is that it not only appears that more horn was removed, but that quite a substantial amount of additional horn is indeed removed by performing the Kock and Morkel method (Table 1). 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Horn 3.1 2.24 3.88 6.68 1.69 2.49 2.77 1.48 Excess 1.64 1.26 1.13 2.97 0.77 1.03 0.63 0.92 9 1.57 0.75 Mean 2.88 1.23 Table 1: Horn weights (in kilograms) of a population of nine dehorned white rhino, 2 years and older. ‘Horn’ indicates the weight of horn removed by the conventional square cut method. ‘Excess’ refers to all the additional horn removed by the Kock and Morkel method. Note: ‘horn’ weights are slightly lower as this population was dehorned 3 years ago using the conventional method. It is a mere matter of risk equals reward. And with such a high reward (1kg = R1 million or so) poachers are willing to take that risk. That said, even effective dehorning is not a standalone measure. It needs to be combined with other adequate anti-poaching measures. In those instances where it is combined with other measures, the poaching rate is zero. In the past three years we, in conjunction with other colleagues that we have trained in this method, have dehorned over 1000 rhinos in South Africa using the Kock and Morkel method. Not a single one of these rhinos have been poached thereafter. Many of these populations were under severe poaching pressure, and once dehorned the poaching stopped immediately. Unfortunately, if often ends up that the poaching moves to other non-dehorned populations. We thus need a unified tactical approach to dehorn the rhino population in this country. This will buy us time, and hopefully enough time so we can find a long term strategy to prevent rhino poaching. The fact is not a single rhino needs to die. Dehorning is a sustain XH[ۋH[Y]HY[^YYB\H[X[]][H[HH]\BوH[ˈ܈HܝY[ۈZܛ[š\\ܛYYۈHX[]]H[YH[X\B]΋˞[]XKK]ݏSSKYHܛH\[HZܛ[\][ۈ[H][[HX[ۈ[ۜ\][ۂو][][ۈو[܈H\وYX\˂Y\\H\[HYY[Y]وH\Y\š[YXZ[و[ۙ^K]\H\[B[X[܈]]\H]\وH\Hܚ\HZY\[[][]Y\[H[H\B MSBNB