Hooo-Hooo Volume 10, Nr 3 - Page 16

WildLife Group of the SAVA Effective rhino dehorning Rhino Dehorning a Sensitive Topic Jacques Henry O’Dell, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria When one brings in the issue of legalizing trade in rhino horn, things really heat up. Regardless of whether you are pro-trade or anti-trade, dehorning has the potential to save rhino, and thus as wildlife veterinarians we must use dehorning as one of the options to protect these magnificent animals. permanent dehorning, like hot-iron burning, have been done in the past, but the ethics of this method needs to be looked at. Temporary dehorning can be grouped into two groups namely dehorning for optimal horn yield and dehorning for anti-poaching. Dehorning could be either permanent or temporary. Surgical dehorning with the idea of establishing a nucleus breeding herd of permanently dehorned rhino is currently being researched. Hopefully we never get to the point where these rhino are indeed needed for the future survival of rhino in Africa. Dehorning for optimal horn yield would involve using a thin blade, like a reciprocating saw, to remove the horn with as little wastage (in the form of shavings and dust) as possible. The main goal obviously is to have the highest possible yield of rhino horn, with the hope of future trade option. The horn is removed by doing a simple square cut (Figure 1). The method developed during this research might however be of immediate value for the highly threatened Asian rhinos. Other methods of This method has its place, especially for the commercial rhino (horn) farmer, but in terms of preventing poaching it is inferior. 16