Rhino dies during anti-poaching treatment

2012-02-09 17:46

Johannesburg - A rhino died during a media demonstration of an anti-poaching treatment on Thursday, the Rhino Rescue Project said.

"He responded very well to the treatment and the procedure is 100% safe, but there are always huge risks when such a large animal is sedated," said spokesperson Lorinda Hern.

The rhino - named Spencer - died after veterinarians administered a drug to wake him up after a microchip and tracking device were implanted in his horn, said Hern.

The demonstration of the procedure was held at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, in the Cradle of Humankind.

Hern, who was also Spencer's owner, said an anaesthetic was required for the treatment.

It was suspected that Spencer had an underlying heart condition and that the anaesthetic's antidote may have triggered heart failure.

Spencer's age could also have played a role, as he was estimated to be 22.

Hern, who was upset at the death, said poachers created a catch-22 situation in that poaching prevention treatments required sedation, which could in some cases pose a risk to the animals.

A post mortem was being conducted to establish the exact cause of the rhino's death.

  • Dalene - 2012-02-09 18:02

    We were there. Amazing experience and very sad to have heard of Spencer's death. Stunning animals!

      Squeegee - 2012-02-09 18:16

      Sorry he died, but at least someone is trying to do something proactive...

      John - 2012-02-15 05:52

      Why in this era of scientific geniuses can't we develop a drug that can be injected into the horn which is non toxic to the rhino but deadly to humans. Hell if we can develop a weed killer that only kills the weeds in our lawns, get Wouter on the job. After a few horny dead Asians are found, how long do you think it will take for the word to get around that SA horns are bad for your health? That will kill the market for sure!

  • Shirley - 2012-02-09 18:38

    How tragic! The worst is the dangerous things we have to do to these wonderful beasts just to try and save them from the filthy poachers! Its shameful that humans have sunk to this level,selfishly removing species from the planet which belong to all!

  • Kim - 2012-02-09 18:40

    So sorry to hear. Keep trying guys. SAVE OUR RHINO FROM THESE SAVAGES

  • Paul - 2012-02-09 18:50

    Sorry for the huge loss guys but a small price to pay considering the bigger picture. Dont give up, never ever give up.We will fight the poachers in the parks, we will fight the syndicates in the courts, we will fight the corrupt politicians and hunters, but we will never ever desert or surrender our rhinos.

      Charl - 2012-02-09 22:48

      Keep the "hunter" out of your war cry, they have nothing to do with poaching

      Michael - 2012-02-09 23:08

      no, hunters are just as bad. Hey guys, lets go camping, go for a hike, and hey, lets massacre some animals with my high powered rifle. I can pose with my foot on the carcass whilst you take a photo, and one day I can show my grandchildren how brave I was.

      Michael - 2012-02-09 23:20

      I honestly cannot see the fun in killing animals. Please explain the pleasure you derive from shooting, for example a Bushbuck. Take us through the though process. Does the pleasure come when you have your sites on the animal, does your mouth water knowing you are about to blow it's head off. Or is it after the kill. Do you feel like you have accomplished something, does the life slipping away from the animal make you feel alive? Is it the beers that evening, the "war" stories, how you stalked you prey, bravely brushing past thorn trees as your target blissfully unaware, stood, not knowing it was about to die. Is that it? do you feel manly? Maybe I have it very wrong, please explain the pleasure.

      Michael - 2012-02-10 06:10

      Poachers do it for money, hunters do it for fun. What is the difference Charl?

      Peter - 2012-02-10 06:20

      Michael, you have to have hunted to experience the pleasure. Its called an adrenalin rush, its a primitive instinct we carry with us from our hunter gatherer days. I don't know how a hunter gets pleasure shooting a rhino, it will be like shooting a cow - no challenge. But hunting for biltong in the bush is a thrill due to the challenge. By the way, eating the meat of a hunted animal is a lot less cruel than the meat you eat from the abatoir. Those wild animals had a good free life up until they are shot, unlike the poor animals farmed commercially. Industrial farming of living things is frighteningly cruel.

      Merven - 2012-02-10 07:39

      So Peter, just because you want a adrenalin rush a animal must die? How are you in any way different from a rapist or paedophile that rape for the excitement of the moment?

      Paul - 2012-02-10 07:44

      @ Charl......CORRUPT politicians and hunters..

      Michael - 2012-02-10 09:06

      I can think of much better ways to get an adrenaline rush, where nothing has to die. Furthermore the fact that you get a rush from killing is rather startling. Funny to see how the "primitive instinct" explanation is used. Fine to be primitive when it suits you, but you would abuse others who claim the same reason to make their primitive actions more legit. Neighbours slaughtering a cow to appease ancestors comes to mind...

      Liana - 2012-02-10 09:52

      @ Peter: you call it a challenge? with a high powered rifle, enclosed areas and cars? where's the challenge in that? I personally see it as a "p!ss up" where men get to show balls they don't actually have and then act all macho because "I skinned it myself"...and I agree with Michael, there are other, better ways to get your "adrenaline" rush.

      Willem - 2012-02-10 10:32

      I hope all of you condemning hunting don't eat meat.

      Michael - 2012-02-10 14:09

      @Will I love a juicy steak as much as the next guy. There is however, a huge difference in killing for fun, and the adrenaline rush, than to kill to eat/feed a population. Wow, your stupidity astounds me. That argument is for hippies still high on love and acid or people who hunt for fun and cannot think of a better excuse. Get real or go hug a tree. Whichever one applies to you.

      Craig - 2012-02-13 00:33

      Hunters pay a lot of money for conservation. How much do you pay??? Ignorant, opinionated A@@holes.

      Craig - 2012-02-13 00:38

      MICHAEL If you are not prepared to kill it yourself, stalk it yourself, gut and skin it yourself, you have NO RIGHT to eat meat. It is about respect - if you are not willing to do it yourself, you dont eat it. And all the vegetarians... How many 1000Km of veld is destroyed along with the game so that your food can be farmed? Ignorance and arrogance are your bedfellows...

      Peter - 2012-02-13 06:11

      Ja wat, I hope all of those condemning hunting are vegetarians. Amazing how it is not considered cruel to kill an animal at an abatoir, but its cruel to shoot it in the bush. The oke killing it at the abatoir has no emotions, thats psycho. Most hunters at least feel some sort of emotion when they make a kill, even if it is an adrenalin rush. Honesty is not what people like to hear, they think humans are innocent little creatures - turn a blind eye to what we really are. I think a lot of you need to get a grip on reality, you're living in denial.

  • Grant - 2012-02-09 18:51

    Welcome to Africa, not even the animals are safe :(

  • Barefoot - 2012-02-09 18:54

    Sad but necessary- the positive might be that it died a much better death than what would have happened in the hands of poachers

  • Grant - 2012-02-09 18:54

    Well said Kim, SAVAGES, send them back into the bush where they belong

  • Sean - 2012-02-09 19:54

    Some we win - some we loose! Keep on trying your good work guys, sorry about this loss and we realise how difficult it is to work with a large animal and the possible complications that can happen whith anaesthetic. If only we did not have to be forced to resort to doing this because of some dumb idiots who think that our majestic animals' horn will assist with their small horn syndrome!

  • Rory - 2012-02-09 22:39

    I reckon we should stop buying any product made in China. This may get the Chinese goverment to crack down on their citizens who buy these Rhino horns.

      Peter - 2012-02-10 06:21

      There will be nothing left to buy?

  • brionyl.french - 2012-02-10 05:09


  • Peter - 2012-02-10 06:13

    Murphy's Law - if no media had been there the oke would have been fine.

  • Cilla - 2012-02-10 07:27

    Sorry he died but it is wonderful that something is finally being done to stop poaching.

  • E=MC2 - 2012-02-10 08:37

    have some irony why dont you...

  • Dianne - 2012-02-10 09:05

    RIP Spencer

  • flysouth - 2012-02-10 12:47

    Such a shame - however this is absolutely necessary for the continued existence of the species and I sure that the vets will have learnt from this incident.

  • Dino - 2012-02-11 04:36

    Michael do u eat meat?

  • zee.kimble - 2012-02-14 23:26

    @Peter. Why don't you go jump off a building without a rope if it is adrenalin that you're after. How can you even justify the frivolous shooting of an animal simply for pleasure by saying it gives you an "adrenalin rush"? What the hell is wrong with you???

  • zee.kimble - 2012-02-14 23:33

    @Michael - I TOTALLY agree with every single word you have said. Unfortunately it takes an enlightened soul to view the world from that perspective - and there are way too many that still need to see the light.

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