Rhino vet dies
Johannesburg - A pioneering wildlife veterinarian, Toni Harthoorn, who played an important role in saving white rhinos from extinction, has died, according to a report on Wednesday.
Harthoorn played a central role in Operation Rhino in the 1950s, reported The Star newspaper.
He worked with conservationist Ian Player and other members of the Natal Parks Board to develop a drug to immobilise rhinos. At that stage, rhinos were still being captured by hand.
"Toni was without doubt a great hero in the struggle to protect the rhino. It was his genius in developing the immobilising drugs that made it possible for Operation Rhino to be the success that it proved to be," Player said in a tribute.
The operation involved capturing hundreds of rhinos in Imfolozi Game Reserve to repopulate other wildlife areas in SA and Africa, and zoos worldwide.
Harthoorn died aged 89 in Pretoria this week.