5th June 2021 at 2:07 pm #35566
Hello there – I thought I’d try and have a go posting in the forum!
I’d be interested to know if anyone has any thoughts/feelings around dehorning rhinos? Has anyone been able to see a dehorning in person? 🦏5th June 2021 at 2:20 pm #35567Lucy PetersParticipant
Hi Nirvana, I was wondering what people’s feelings are on dehorning rhinos too!
Does anyone know if dehorning rhinos causes them any pain and if they are sedated throughout this procedure? 🙂5th June 2021 at 2:22 pm #35568
I am about to begin my masters research project on the impacts of dehorning on rhino ecology but so far from my research and reading I think that although dehorning is not the optimal choice and likely does have some negative impacts on rhinos in terms of behaviour, ecology etc, there is a lot of evidence from different countries that the negatives are still outweighed by the decrease in poaching that is seen. However, there is some evidence that dehorning alone is not sufficient because some horn still remains on the rhino and so if there is not sufficient other protection such as anti-poaching patrols then the risks are so low and the value of the horn so high that poachers will still kill rhinos for the remaining stump. Hope that isn’t too long winded and makes sense but thats just some of the things I’ve have found!5th June 2021 at 2:24 pm #35569
Hi Lucy, The rhinos have to be sedated for the procedure and this seems to be the biggest risk of the whole thing as rhinos generally don’t respond that well to immobilisation agents although drug combinations are now significantly better to what they used to be! General consensus is that there is no pain associated with the procedure as long as it is carried out correctly because there are no nerves in the horn however I have yet to find a study that specifically assesses this. Hope this is helpful!5th June 2021 at 2:29 pm #35571
Hi Lucy – awesome to hear from you!
So I can say for certain that dehorning rhinos is a painless procedure for the rhino. The horn is made of keratin, the same as our fingernails or hair, so it is painless to cut so long as you avoid the sensitive tissue at the base of the horn. The procedure has to be performed under general anesthesia and this is what poses the greatest risk to the rhino, but over the years this risk has greatly reduced as vets and ground teams have improved techniques to make the procedure as safe as possible.5th June 2021 at 2:31 pm #35572Lucy PetersParticipant
Thank you very much for this, your comments are so interesting! I’m glad to hear that if done properly, that there should be no pain involved. However, it is still such a shame that this has to be done to reduce poaching and that even then, it doesn’t completely eliminate the problem. All the best with your masters research project!5th June 2021 at 2:35 pm #35573
Doubly Lucy’s – haha!
I totally agree that dehorning alone is not ‘problem solved’ and that to effectively deter poachers you need to have many branches of protection such as anti-poaching teams, canine units, etc. but also address the incentive and reason why poachers take such huge risks to for such a small portion of horn left behind.
It’s fantastic that you’re doing a Masters on such a critical topic – I would love to learn more!5th June 2021 at 2:37 pm #35574
Yes it is so sad they many countries have had to resort to dehorning but I suppose it’s better than no rhinos at all. I really hope that one day it won’t be necessary at all. Thanks so much!5th June 2021 at 2:39 pm #35575
Haha such a great and interesting conversation going on! I’m hoping that I will be able to publish the results of my study if any journals accept me so maybe you’ll hear more then! But if you ever have any questions I would always be so interested to chat about it!5th June 2021 at 3:11 pm #35577
Definitely! One aspect that has been on my mind, and you touched on it earlier, is the impact dehorning has on behaviour and social interactions between rhinos – I don’t know whether your research has shed any light on that?5th June 2021 at 3:16 pm #35578
Yes so my project is looking at the impact on the fitness of dehorned black rhinos and not so much on the behaviour side due to time constraints, inability to collect data due to covid etc but I am considering developing my project into more behavioural assessment for a phd. There is very limited research available on the impacts on behaviour and social interactions of dehorning but the best study I have found is the doctoral thesis of Samuel Penny at the University of Brighton which covers a lot of different aspects of dehorning. I have attached the link below for you if you are interested!6th June 2021 at 7:39 am #35604Elin KjellbergParticipant
Very interesting topic. I haven´t really thought about the the fitness and behavior aspect of dehorning. I couldn´t access the link (maybe because I am in Sweden) but found it on researchgate.net.
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