As a Black Rhino had its horn removed as part of a legal de-horning process to protect the endangered animals by deterring poachers they were stunned to discover the perfect shape of a heart running through it.
For centuries Rhino horn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine although it has no medicinal properties whatsoever. This has resulted in Rhino horn been seen as a highly prized item for illegal poachers.
But at the centre of one Rhinos’s horn, conservationists in South Africa found a remarkable discovery.
As vets removed its horn to protect him from poachers, they were stunned to discover a perfect love heart at the base of the animal’s colossal horn.
The magnificent Rhinos had its horn removed as part of a legal de-horning programme by Dr Will Fowlds.
The act of de-horning the Rhinos, which took place at the Kragga Kamma Game Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, is designed to protect it from poachers.
By removing the horn, it is hoped hunters will be deterred by the lack of financial incentive to kill the wild animal.
By removing the horn, it is hoped hunters will be deterred by the lack of financial incentive to kill the wild animal
Professional staff at the game park use battery powered tools and a chain saw to remove the horn and also ensure the animals are monitored throughout
The incredible pictures of the Rhinos’s horn were snapped by photographer Luc Hosten.
He said: ‘Rhinos poaching is rife in South Africa, and there were rumours that the game park was going to be visited by poachers.
‘Surveillance began, and it was eventually decided to remove the horns and spread the information so that poachers would stay away.
‘This process was professionally done, by staff at Kragga Kamma and a team of vets – the horns are removed using battery powered tools and a chain saw, and the animals are monitored throughout.
‘Amazingly, there was a perfect imprint of a heart on one of the Rhinos’s horns.
‘It is sad that we have to de-horn Rhinoss to protect what we love from unscrupulous poachers.
‘We love our Rhinos but to save them we have to maim them!’
‘It was a great success – all the animals were successfully treated, and back and active straight afterwards.’
Original story by Tom Wyke, 25/05/16.