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South African town dehorns rhinos in attempt to ward off poachers

 

By Neal Carter
Rock Center

The town of Hoedspruit, South Africa is taking a controversial approach to protecting their rhinos.  They've decided to dehorn their rhinos to ward off poachers.

"I'd hate us to be the future community that would apologize to the world for having lost such an important species to mankind as rhino," Trevor Jordan said.

Jordan and his son, Patrick, decided to take action when poachers claimed 25 of the town's rhinos last year. The Jordans recruited a team of rhino owners and concerned residents searching for a solution. They call themselves Rhino Revolution. Since August of last year, roughly 150 rhinos have had their horns safely removed in the town.

A rhino's horns grow back and the horns are safely removed after the animal has been darted with a tranquilizer.

The spike in poaching that's happening in Hoedspruit is happening throughout South Africa.  More than 400 rhinos were killed in the country last year. 

The Jordans said that their decision to dehorn their town's rhinos is a temporary solution.

"This is designed to push poachers away from our area, decrease the threat to our animals," Patrick Jordan said.

South Africa is home to three quarters of the world's last remaining rhinos.  A rising demand for rhino horn in Asia has led to a drastic increase in poaching


Harry Smith's full report, "Last Stand," aired Wednesday, Feb. 22.  The two part piece is below.