As he finished the process, one of the team took blood to test, another applied the antiseptic to the minor scrapes and cuts she sustained from falling from the darting process. Finally she was given the anesthetic reversal, the blanket pulled from her eyes and we moved out.
None the worse for wear, she stood, hesitated for the briefest of moments and ambled off back into the bush, her companion waiting not far off.
In our recent visit, we had the privilege of working with Dr. Peter Rogers and the team on de-horning one of the former victims of poaching at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center.
In August of 2013, Dingle Dell and Lion's Den, two rhino cows were poached. Fortunately with the help of Dr. Rogers, Dr. Johan Marais and their stellar veterinary team, they survived. The two have endured countless procedures since then, and recently underwent another dehorning to make them less of a target to would-be poachers.
De-horning is now a common procedure for a great deal of the remaining rhinos in South Africa. Yet no matter how much the "norm" it has become, there are moments when it hits you: the irony that we must rob a creature of its parts in order to save it from others who seek to do the same - just to save its life.