Four Southern Cross Schools learners were recently given the opportunity to experience a rhino dehorning. Yes, this is what we are exposed to as Southern Cross Schools learners!
The dehorning took place at Thornybush Private Nature Reserve and on arrival, the learners were instructed on what to do and what rules to follow. Two rhinos had been identified and there was no time to waste. The ground team led, followed by the learners, a few tourist vehicles, and a German film crew.
Onlookers were told to keep their distance as a safety precaution. It was so exciting to be so close to such a huge and remarkable animal. Finally, it was time to see how to protect these endangered animals. To view such a strong, beautiful creature up close was an unforgettable experience, yet deeply saddening knowing that this animal had to lose such a symbolic part of itself because of mankind’s greed.
The dehorning process involved sawing off as much of the horn as possible, and then grinding it down. It involved chain saws and grinders which resulted in pieces of horn flying all over. The Southern Cross Schools learners were allowed to ‘get their hands dirty’ by painting oil onto the horn to stop it from cracking, as well as spray-painting a line onto the rhino’s back to indicate that the animal had been dehorned.
A total of 8 rhinos were dehorned, 4 females, 3 calves and a large bull.
It was an exciting day for the learners who also got to see a pack of 22 wild dogs, a hyena and an elephant.
An experience that will be etched on our minds forever. Being allowed to touch and feel the rhinos, pour water on them to keep them cool, and even inject the antidote, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
A huge thank you to Rhino Revolution for enabling this experience to become a reality.
It was a day filled with laughs, smiles, and even some tears. Overall, something that every learner would do again in a heartbeat.
By Amber Gallop: Grd 8