When we a couple of years of ago had a meeting concerning poaching with the border staff between South Africa and Mozambique, they had that night arrested three poachers with rhino horns. I asked if there was a possibility for me to meet the suspects and they said yes. When I entered the room, there were three young men there between 14-17 years old.
The poaching of rhino is only increasing all the time, despite the fact that many NGOs all over the world collect funds for this cause. How is this possible one wonders? Is it because the funds disappear on the way to the cause, or is many used for something else once it arrives or is it not possible to solve the problem with money? Probably a combination of all these risks... Poaching is comparable with the drug problem, international criminal organisations are behind these trades earning huge amounts. Not only the rhinos are the victims, but also the people loving in poverty are being used by these criminal organisations. There are so many losers and too heartbreakingly sad.
A year later we were asked by Theresa Sowry, the CEO of the Southern African Wildlife College (link) if we could find donors for a rhino notching and we did. Below you can see how it is done.
Rhinos are identified by notches in their ears, as well as microchips under the skin and in their horns. This is done to help combat the vile and illegal trade in rhino horn. Here we through a donation to our foundation had the opportunity to be part of the notching of two rhinos. A rhino was immobilised and was micro-chipped, had its ears notched and DNA taken for identification purposes.
The rhino was darted from a helicopter and once adequately immobilised was blindfolded. Then the ground crew including us, moved in, the animal had its ears notched and DNA samples taken (blood, tissue and hair) for identification purposes. A microchip was also inserted into the animal’s horn. The animal received a long acting antibiotic and multivitamin during the procedure and the anaesthetic was closely monitored throughout. Once the reversal agent was given the animal was watched from the air until a good recovery seen.