Clearly, a rhino’s horn belongs on the rhino! To dehorn a rhino takes the majesty and beauty away from this iconic animal, but proper dehorning can help save rhino lives.
Appropriate dehorning is removal of the horn about 4 fingers above the skin which is painless and bloodless to the rhino. The sides of the horn stump are then rounded off to remove excess horn, leaving a stump on the rhino. The idea is to leave as little horn as possible on the rhino hoping to make it less attractive to poachers. But the horn regrows just like our own nails.
Surgical dehorning is removal of the entire horn so that it never grows again. The surgery is obviously deeper than with conventional dehorning. Some rhino rescues plan to perform this procedure in young calves, so that the wound is as small as possible, and soon heals. The dehorned rhino will all be kept with other dehorned rhino, to prevent injuries from keeping horned and dehorned rhino together. This pilot study is to determine if this procedure can provide yet another tool to protect our wonderful rhino. (text provided by Ruth Hughes)