Preemptive truncating alters rhino social behavior

about the episode

When rhino poaching was at its worst, some conservationists in Africa chose a last resort to protect the animals: to kill the horns themselves.

This does not harm the rhino, although, of course, the animal must first be anesthetized, which also carries risks. The idea is that poachers will leave the animals alone, but now new research with 15 years of data shows that horn cutting also affects black rhino behavior and so may not be the best approach ever.

Animals seem to travel farther from home and thus have less opportunities to interact with their peers. The territories of some rhinos have shrunk by up to 80 percent. Perhaps this is because they feel more vulnerable without their main means of defence. The researchers believe that this also has consequences for mating behavior and therefore population size.

Only 6,200 black rhinos remain in the wild, all of them in Africa. Although the population as a whole is slowly shrinking, a true recovery is not possible, because poaching continues.

It is also true that if the horns are not cut all over the place, the problem is likely only moving. And they also grow back, so this must be done every year. For an operation that’s already expensive and not without safety risks, none of this is ideal. Especially if it also turns out that the social behavior of animals changes as a result. In follow-up research, they now hope to determine whether this change in behavior actually affects how well black rhinos reproduce.

See also  Does the gene in this type of mice guarantee monogamy?

Read more about the search here: Cutting rhino horns to prevent poaching makes them household objects.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *