Rhino horns sawn off to deter poachers

  • 18/05/2016

Park rangers in South Africa are taking drastic action to protect their rhinos from poachers.

In the Phinda Game Reserve, they're sawing off the animals' valuable horns in an attempt to save their lives.

It's hard to watch, but dehorning the rhinos could save their lives. They're not in any pain -- it's like filing a human nail.

Rhino horn is still so valuable to poachers that once these guys are dehorned, it's immediately whisked off the property to a secret location, out of the reach of criminal syndicates. 

In some parts of Asia, the rhino's horn sells for about US$150,000.

"I would rather see this little guy standing upright in two years' time than in a ditch upside down and bloated, dead from having had his horn poached," says veterinarian Mike Toft.

"Dehorning is a no-brainer."

The rhinos are sprayed with a purple disinfectant -- the mark of survival.  

The horn will grow back in a few years, but it will become increasingly rare to see a rhino with horns in this reserve.

But it may be the only way to save the species. 

CBS News