There are multiple reasons why we might need to dart a rhino and in each case we take the utmost care and planning to make sure the procedure is both safe for the animal and for you and your team performing it.
Removing snares and
Reducing the size of the horn to deter poaching
Placing tracking devices on the rhino
Putting a identifying marker like a notch or tag
Along side our specialised Veterinarian you will play a key role in each of these procedures which all start from take off.
A private helicopter is used in each case to safely locate the individual rhino from the air with our ground support in pursuit. Using the helicopters agility to herd the target animal into a safe clearing the pilot skilfully manoeuvres low enough for the rhino to be darted with a strong sedative.
Once the rhino starts to show signs of succumbing to the drugs about three to five minutes later, he starts to "high-step" before coming to a halt, a clear sign for the ground team to start to carefully move in. The helicopter lands not to far away allowing the team to reach the animal as soon as possible as to attend to the animals vital needs as fast as possible with the animal in a semi conscious state - large ear plugs and blindfolds are used to assist in the relaxation of these majestic creatures.
A sobering moment as you place and run your hands over the thick skin of the rhinos enormous body, who fights every day to survive and is now in your hands to aid in these crucial procedures.
The Vet quickly swoops in to expertly proceed with the task at hand. Removing snares and treating wounds are crucial as these can lead to infections in the body and weakening of the animals immune system.
Become part of the fight against poaching by dehorning the rhino or implementing tracking devices into their horns. An emotionally intense procedure as a chainsaw and angle grinder are use to shave down the horn of the rhino to the base as gram for gram the horn of a rhino is more valuable than gold. The vet sands down the horn to make it smooth and then uses an aerosol with an antiseptic and insecticide spray, leaving the horn a neon-bright purple. The whole overwhelming procedure is painless for the animal but you will carry this unforgettable experience with you for the rest of your days.