Rhino Capture – Anti-poaching and rhino conservation

In September 2012, a team consisting of ecologists, a veterinarian, helicopter pilot, rangers and
ecologists captured and immobilized 3 rhino as part of an anti-poaching and rhino conservation
drive.

In the wake of excessive rhino poaching across South Africa which is seemingly unstoppable
at present, (and most notably within the world famous Kruger National Park) there are various
necessary interventions which help in our constant struggle against this threat. One method is
the comprehensive data capture and identification procedures implemented with rhinos in the
wild.

We immobilized 3 rhino and various procedures were carried out to record all the vital statistics
and measurements of the animals. A microchip was implanted in the horn of each animal and
in their hump for identification purposes, and the ears were uniquely notched for quick and easy
identification in the field. DNA samples were taken as well as blood samples.

The DNA sampling is imperative in creating a DNA database of rhino in South Africa, and
past DNA samples have matched severed horns in Asia to particular incidents, successfully
prosecuting poachers for specific incidents. If rhino numbers continue to drop, DNA models will
help determine successful breeding programmes with the lowest inbreeding quotient, and thus
the future breeding of this species can be scientifically controlled.

The extraordinary lengths we need to go through to achieve these outcomes is significant
requiring vast resources and personnel teams. It is an expensive operation, and unfortunately
there is a limit to the funding we have access to for rhino conservation. Compared with
the limitless demand in Asia for rhino horn, more resources need to be invested into rhino
conservation in Southern Africa in order to combat this threat efficiently.