Rhino ear-notching and horn-tagging in South Africa

November 2022
Project to safeguard one of Africa's oldest rhino populations

In November, we funded an ear-notching & horn-tagging operation of nine Rhino on a game reserve in South Africa. The Rhino population on this reserve is one of the oldest in the country and because of its successful breeding statistics, this population acts as a seed-population for translocating rhino to other reserves. It is therefore imperative that these Rhino are monitored. Maintaining genetic diversity is incredibly important for the survival of endangered species. 

After the Rhino are darted with a tranquilliser from the helicopter, the wildlife vets insert the microchips in the horns and clip notches in their ears. It may look a little painful but because the rhino are sedated, they are not at all aware of the activity going on around them! These notch patterns, as well as the microchip number, are then recorded in the reserves database. This aids tremendously to collect and record biological data, as individual rhino are much easier to identify based on their notch pattern. This in turn, aids the reserve management to ensure that the population remains genetically sound and prevents inbreeding, as well as aiding in tracking their movements and keeping the population safe from poaching

From our side, we’d like to thank our Wild Wonderful World Travellers & donors who made this operation possible, as well as the reserve management and veterinary team for carrying out this complex operation in an incredibly efficient and professional manner.

Operations like this do not come cheap, and Wild Wonderful World is extremely honoured to have been part of this collaborative effort!

Co-funders: Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife | African Wildlife Vets | WWF Black Rhino Project

Photo credit Joshua Rogers

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