Nkombe Rhino and MTPA dehorning rhinos to save their lives.

The Manyeleti Game Reserve is one of the hardest hit areas for rhino poaching in the world. In an effort to stave off poaching and save the lives of these iconic creatures, Nkombe Rhino partnered with MTPA to safeguard their rhino population. The organization also funded this vital operation. This included all veterinary costs, the supply of a fixed wing spotter plane and helicopter support.

The de-horning of a rhino is a painless procedure, similar to humans clipping their fingernails. Both are made up of comparable keratin-based materials. A rhino is first located by the air wing.  It is then sedated by the vet in a helicopter. A ground crew then stabilises the animal, before safely removing the horn with a chainsaw. The vet measures 8-10cm above the base of the horn, ensuring no cut is made into the “nail bed” or close to nerves. The remaining horn is then ground smooth and the animal is back on its feet a mere 20-30 minutes later.

This event was the first pioneering step whereby NPO’s and government reserves could work together.

Dehorning may not be an ideal solution but had already proved to be successful in diverting poachers from reserves with de-horned rhinos. With the global poaching issue it had become a necessary precaution in order to try and save the species.

Nkombe Rhino is a South African NPO providing support and protection of endangered wildlife species. The NPO also provides funding and provisions to the dedicated men and women at the forefront of this ongoing crisis. Due to the increasing demand for rhino horn in the East, Nkombe had so far focused a large amount of its resources on this  species. By protecting these animals, it would also safeguard other species.


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