This method was started at the private game reserve Sabi Sand Wildtuin, at the southern end of Kruger Park, with 100 of its rhinos being injected with the non-lethal chemical package.
The Asian market for the luxury commodity is increasing year on year with 203 rhinos already killed this year for their prized possessions. The reserve believes that this lucrative trade can be countered if Kruger Park, keeping 70% of the targeted rhinos, follows this new programme.
In a business that reaches R600,000 ($66,000) a kilogram, there is no wonder it’s an attractive prospect for any poacher despite the small percentages they get from each horn obtained. Parker believes tackling the problem at Kruger Park would be the first step in getting to the route of the problem.
The ectoparasiticide chemical should not be consumed by humans and usually functions as an antiparisitic drug to control ticks and parasites in animals. Although not lethal, consumption could cause severe nausea, vomiting and convulsions.
In addition to making a consumer potentially very ill, the ectoparasiticides are accompanied by a pink dye that can be detected by airport scanners. “We realised that the treatment of the horns, along with an indelible dye, would go a long way towards helping us achieve our goal of protecting all rhinos in South Africa from poaching,” said Lorinda Hern of the Rhino Rescue Project.
The dye is visible on any x-ray scanner even if in powder form and so airport security checkpoints are almost certain to pick up a trace of the dye in a treated horn.
“Testing is ongoing and comprehensive, to ensure that the animals have in no way been harmed by the administration of the treatment and ……………..