No evidence that removal of black rhinos negatively affects species reproduction or survival, study finds – ScienceDaily

There are no significant differences in the key factors of population growth – reproduction, birth, survival, lifespan and death – between the new research de-horned or horned black rhino, conducted by the University of Bristol Veterinary School, Department of Environment, Namibian Forests and Tourism, and Save the Rhino Trust found.

The black rhino is critically endangered, with poaching one of several threats to the species’ survival. Many reserves in a number of African countries, including Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, are removing rhino horns in an effort to reduce poaching, but few studies have looked at the effects of drying out the horns, particularly in black rhinos.

The study aimed to build on current knowledge of population productivity among dehorned and horned individuals in four black rhino subgroups (of the subspecies Diceros bicornis bicornis) in Namibia.

Three of the population have undergone some level of antler removal at least once while one population has not had antlers removed. Measures investigated included: the female’s age at birth of her first calf (age at first childbearing or AFR); The average time between the birth of calves per female (interpartum period); Sex ratios at birth, calf survival, life span and cause of death

The study found no evidence that de-horning has a negative effect on black rhinos, which is encouraging for the continued use of de-horn as an anti-poaching technique in this species. It is essential that anti-poaching measures in and of themselves do not jeopardize the population growth of rhinos.

Previously, it has been suggested that the removal of the horns could have some effect on the behavior and vitality of the rhino, either through the consequences of the lack of horn or the process of removing the horns itself, in which the animal must be anesthetized.

Lucy Chimes, a former MSc student at the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Medicine, said: “In a perfect world, no one would want to remove one of the most recognizable traits of a rhinoceros horn, its horn, but unfortunately this is not a perfect world and relentless poaching has forced many reserves To resort to dehumidification.

“Our study found no significant differences in any of the population productivity measures assessed between dehorned and horned rhinos, which is reassuring for the use of dehorning as a deterrent to combat poaching in black rhinos.”

Due to the small sample size, further research is needed after the results. It is particularly important for future studies to collect data from as many reserves, reserves and national parks across as many countries as possible, so that greater analysis can be done not only on the effects of de-hulling but also on its effectiveness as a deterrent against poaching. . Sharing the data will also allow for larger studies across wider regions on other aspects such as rhino behavior, habitat use and management practices.

The research was approved by the University of Bristol Ethical Review and Animal Welfare Authority (AWERB) (Reference number: UIN/21/049) and the Namibian National Committee for Research, Science and Technology (permit number: RPIV01042026).

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Materials Introduction of University of Bristol. Note: Content can be modified according to style and length.

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