By Michael Scott
Touching images show the moment a little girl got close to a rhino as he is dehorned by conservation workers to prevent poachers.
Ayesha Cantor, 50, who runs the Kragga Kamma Game Park, in South Africa, captured the moment her friend’s daughter, three-year-old Ava, tenderly kisses the sedated White Rhino, named Chunk.
The park ‘dehorn’ their rhino’s to stop poachers killing them for their precious horn which can be sold on the black market for a huge sum and used in Chinese medicine’s as we as a status symbol.
Ayesha said: “We trim our rhino’s horns every two years to lessens the risk of poaching and keeping the ‘reward’ to the poacher to a minimum.
“The rhinos are darted with a cocktail of immobilising drugs. It takes up to about eight minutes for the full effect to take place.
“They can hear and feel everything, to keep stress to the rhino to a minimum their ears are plugged and their eyes blindfolded.
Ava’s affection for the rhino was a surprise to the group, as she was taken along by her father, who works as a chainsaw operator and helps with the procedure of removing the horn.
Ayesha said: “Her reaction was totally spontaneous, we think she thought her father was harming the rhino as she was visibly distressed watching the dehorning and immediately went to ‘kiss it better’.
“It is going to be up to her generation to save the rhino, our generation has certainly not been successful in stemming the flow.”