Botswana dehorned at least 100 wild rhinoceroses between March and May this year in order to save them from the marauding poachers in the northwestern part of the southern African country, an official said Sunday.
Cyril Taolo, the acting director in Botswana’s department of wildlife and national parks, made this revelation during a virtual media briefing held via a live broadcast through the national television, Botswana Television.
“Over the past three months, as the department of wildlife and national parks, we undertook an operation to dehorn our rhinoceroses in the Okavango Delta situated in the northwestern part of the country,” said Taolo.
Taolo said this operation was necessitated by the poaching that Botswana is experiencing in its northern parts over the past eighteen months to two years where most of the wildlife is concentrated.
At the beginning of this month, Taolo said Botswana found 58 carcasses of both white and black rhinos in the Okavango Delta and subsequent investigations establish that it was the result of poaching incidents.
“It was necessary for us to carry out this operation as a matter of urgency to protect our black and white rhino population as well as ensuring that we maintain the integrity and reputation of Botswana has built over the years as a safe haven for wildlife,” he said.
Between 2007 and 2017, only six rhinos were killed for their horns, but in the past two years the poaching of both black and white rhinos surged, further reducing the numbers from a population of approximately 300.
According to Rhino Review, a non-profit organization established to stimulate passion about rhinos, rhino horns sell for 43,307 U.S. dollars a kilogram on the black market in Asia, where they are used as status symbols and in medicinal remedies.