“This is a great idea, I hope those that use the horn of any dead rhino suffer appalling reactions & suffer greatly; its’ nothing less than they deserve. If there stupid enough to use rhino horn instead of chewing their own fingernails, I have no sympathy. But, I’m not that happy either, that this pink potion has already killed test subjects; especially a rhino at an event to promote the cocktail. If inadequate studies have been performed to test this cocktail, should it go on, how many more rhino will die through testing; will several dying, justify saving the lives of those that are left? Or is there an easier option to save the rhino?”
“I’m for anything that stops the rhino poachers, dealers & resellers; but not at the cost of losing the lives of an already declining species. If only there was a way to stop poaching, without putting the rhino’s life at risk; to simply catch & use anaesthetics are high risk factors that could end in death, irrelevant of what is going to be implanted into the horn!”
“So think how much it costs in terms of drugs, anesthetics, vets, helicopters, spotters, darts, dart guns, man power etc. to implant something into the horn of one rhino? A rhino, who could die from the anaesthetic or stress of capture: but the process is being done to hopefully stop it being killed by poachers!. Then think of those that go out & poach said species…Why do they do it? Well I’m pretty sure it’s not because they hate the rhino species, they do it for money only, perhaps it’s easy money, which is the attraction; especially when your family are constantly hungry etc.”
” So perhaps the simplest, least cost-effective idea, is being totally overlooked!! Consider the cost of all the above, to one rangers wages & it’s obvious which is the cheaper & most cost-effective way of saving the rhino; more manpower on the ground…but why just rangers already trained up!”!
“What about the poachers? they risk their lives for such a small percentage in wages; so why not turn it around? They only poach for money, so perhaps they could be convinced to fight for the other side, i.e. protecting the rhino & being paid to do so; instead of being paid to kill the rhino! They are already savvy in the knowledge of rhino tracking etc. because they have worked out how & when is the easiest time to kill without being caught. Of course those in charge would have to be diligent, as newly employed protectors of rhino, could easily still work for the poaching kings, on an undercover basis! Inside knowledge could just as easily kill rhino; if done the right way. One just has to think of a way of making poachers protect; instead of kill!
“Perhaps if the government implemented an incentive, to suggest that all rhino poachers who come forward of their own free will, will not be charged for past regressions (otherwise they won’t come; even though I would be so tempted to slap them in chains!) but will be taken on & trained as a special task force, to be paid to save the rhino rather than kill. At the end of the day, it all comes down to money! Rhino potions can not be sold in shops, without those that poach the rhino horn! To stop poaching, one has to think of those at the bottom of the pile, those that do the poaching; because without them, there will be no rhino horn. So give them an incentive to stop, a uniform, a regular weekly income, less risk of being killed by rangers etc. & there might just be a better chance to stop this trade…there is no harm in trying, right??”
Rhino experts discuss a bright approach to keeping poachers away. Please note the following picture has been digitally altered!
With over 200 rhinos already dead this year at the hands of poachers in South Africa and no signs of the slaughter slowing, some innovative rhinoceros lovers are stepping up their game.
Wildlife workers at Sabi Sand, a private game reserve at the southernmost tip of Kruger National Park, have injected a special cocktail into 100 rhino horns, turning them pink in an effort to deter illegal horn hunters.
In addition to discoloring the horn, the pink dye can also be detected by airport scanners, even when the horn is ground into a powder to make the high-priced traditional “medicines” that help fuel the killing of rhinos. The hope is to make transport of the illegal product that much riskier.
And that’s not all. There’s poison in the pink
The indelible pink dye is mixed with parasiticides, usually used to control ticks. Though it’s not meant to kill unscrupulous poachers and consumers who ingest the powder, it does have some pretty nasty side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ironically, these are some of the symptoms which rhino horn is incorrectly believed to alleviate. (Rhino horns contain nothing more than the same keratin found in fingernails.)
This comes at a time when the demand for traditional “medicines” is growing, says Tom Milliken, Rhino Program coordinator with Traffic, a leading wildlife trade-monitoring network. He says, “There is a whole new market that advertises rhino horn as a successful cancer treatment. It’s being marketed in hospitals to the families of the critically ill. In addition, it has also become a trendy hangover remedy.”
Dr. Susie Ellis, Executive Director of the International Rhino Foundation, has concerns about the ethical implications of intentionally poisoning something that may well be ingested, but hopes the project will draw attention to the dire situation.
“If this strategy discourages even one person from buying horn, I think it’s marvelous,” she says.
Milliken also understands the urgency to save every rhino possible, but isn’t sold on this technique. “I’m not sure I fully buy the notion that this dye cocktail has been adequately tested and certified to be non-harmful to rhinos,” he says. “The process of anesthetizing living rhinos to inject the cocktail is time consuming and entails risks; we know of rhinos in the private sector that have died in the process, including one at an event to specifically showcase this particular dye technique.