Last year, radioactive boars frustrated hunters in Germany. This year poisonous rhinoceroses are discouraging poachers in South Africa.
Like the boars, the rhinos are not a product of nature, but a result of human actions. In this case though, the toxic treatment was intentional.
The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Krugersdorp, north of Johannesburg, South Africa, discovered that a medical mixture used to kill parasites on the rhinos also made their horns toxic to humans. The AFP recently reported on this new tool in the fight to protect wildlife.
The treatment helps the health of the horn-heads by preventing parasites, but causes convulsions and headaches in any human who partakes in a rhino horn home remedy. Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same material as fingernails and hair, and prized in parts of Asia an an aphrodisiac and for other medicines.
The mixture also contains a dye that makes the horns glow neon pink in an airport scanner, even when ground into powder.
“The chemicals have the dual threat of keeping away both natural and human parasites… and last for three to four years,” said Lorinda Hern in an interview with the news agency SAPA.