Game reserve dehorns only male rhino

Durban - The practice of dehorning rhinos is gaining momentum in KwaZulu-Natal, and the 700-hectare Gwahumbe Game & Spa in Mid-Illovu has become the latest private game reserve to go for the option.

The reserve’s last remaining male rhino, 8-year-old Vuyo, which has been at the game reserve for five years, had his horn removed this week in a bid to ensure his survival.

“We are extremely fond of him and the decision to dehorn him was made with his survival and safety very much at the forefront of our minds,” said the game reserve’s director, Shanon MacKenzie.

He had never previously allowed Vuyo to be photographed and had postponed adding to the herd because of the risk of poachers wanting their horns.

Now, in partnership with Hilton veterinary surgeon, Dr Ryan van Deventer, and Husqvarna, which provided the vet with a battery chainsaw and a petrol one (the petrol saw for the initial cutting and the battery saw for the finer trimming), Vuyo was dehorned before World Rhino Day.

Former Sharks and Springbok rugby player, Stefan Terblanche, was there to talk about the anti-poaching campaign.

He said people must do all they could to reduce rhino poaching. “I am proud that we can save the animal for future generations,” he said.

Van Deventer began working on the dehorning project a year ago.

He said that although some rhino owners were still resisting dehorning, more and more reserves were realising they needed to minimise the risk to their animals as the poaching problem escalated.