rhino conservation poisoning horns

Rhinos are rapidly being pushed to extinction because of illegal poaching. The demand for their horns is fueled by the myth that it contains medicinal properties that can cure common maladies. Despite several efforts to combat the poaching threat, mortality rates have continued to steadily escalate over the past few years.

According to an article published by Scientific American, Ed Hern, the owner of the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve near Johannesburg, South Africa has proposed a new idea to help save rhinos: POISON THEIR HORNS!

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Mr. Hern believes that by injecting an anti-tick parasiticide into rhinos’ horns, they could make the horns toxic for humans (thereby eliminating the demand for them), while simultaneously benefiting the health and well-being of the rhinos. In addition, he is proposing injecting a pink dye in the horns, which would show up in airport x-ray scanners and help officials identify smugglers.

The idea is definitely a creative one, but some groups have raised doubts about the effectiveness and ethics of the proposal.

Given that traditional conservation methods seem to be failing to combat the cruelty inflicted on rhinos, drastic solutions like this may be what’s needed to give them a fighting chance of survival.

Rhino Image Source: Rayand (via Flickr)