With 2012 already on track to be among the worst years for rhino poaching in Africa, conservationists have stepped-up their use of novel strategies to save the imperiled species -- but sadly, employing these new techniques may not be as safe a solution as many might have hoped. During an exhibition for the press, anti-poaching campaigners sedated a wild African rhino to insert a tracking device into the animal's horn as a means of protecting it from the wildlife-parts trade, though the demonstration quickly took a turn for the worst.
Last week, members of the press were invited to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve to witness what some believe might be the greatest hope to saving the endangered rhinos -- lacing their horns with insecticides and a GPS device to deter those who might want to kill the animal for this valuable body part. The procedure has been performed effectively on some two dozen rhinos, but in this very public instance, things went terribly wrong, reports the South African:
[T]he demonstration ended in tragedy when conservationists couldn’t revive the 22-year-old male rhino after the procedure had been completed. Lorinda Hern, spokesman for the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve said, “It’s sad for us; it’s the loss of another animal. It’s a death I still chalk up to poaching. Every time you dart a rhino, you take a risk that the rhino might not wake up and unfortunately today was one of those days.”
Vets believe that the rhino died after reacting negatively to the drugs injected to revive the animal from sedation.
Read more at The South African