The Rhino Rescue Project is using a pink dye to render useless the tusks of rhinos and make them less appealing to poachers.
Who knew pink had such power against heartless poachers? The activists behind the Rhino Rescue Project did, and they put that thought into action by using a pink dye to render useless the tusks of rhinos at the Sabi Sand South African game reserve.
At present, fewer than 2% of more than 100 rhinos that have been injected with the mixture since 2011 have been poached. Because of its success, the method is now being implemented at other wildlife refugees.
The photo above has been digitally altered to convey the success of the program, but in real life, the dye is actually invisible to the naked eye because it’s injected inside the horn.
The reason why this method is so effective is because the dye is completely harmless to rhinos. But if humans handle it, they are likely to become sick, as well as destroy its potential medicinal use. This is because a chemicals used for killing parasites at the game reserves is added to the pink dye; it irritates humans without bothering the giant land animal.
The dye also shows up on airport scanners – even if the horn has been ground into a powder. This makes it very easy for poachers to be recognized on the spot.
The photo below is from the Rhino Rescue Project’s Facebook page. It shows an actual rhino after the process was completed. Bandages cover injection holes while the horn recovers.
Dissimilar from elephant teeth or tusks, rhino horns are not ivory. They’re keratin, pretty much the same as human fingernails. The tubular structure of a rhino’s horn allows the dye to be injected under high pressure, where it will spread and stay inside for a full growing cycle – which is about three or four years. After that time period, it will be treated again.
This story was originally published on True Activist.