Ex racehorses training to help save rhinos from poachers

We have so much to thank horses for. Their wide range of capabilities to serve mankind and other animals is inspiring and humbling.

Cross-posted from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Former racehorses are the latest weapons on the frontline of South Africa’s war with rhino poachers, amid growing calls for the horns to be traded legally.

Anti rhino horn poaching poster. Image Credit: Nova Labs. Click for more images and to learn more.
Image Credit: Nova Labs. Click for more images and to learn more.

The horses are being used in riding patrols to track poachers, as fears grow that South African rhinos are on the brink of a catastrophic population decline.

With rhino poaching hitting a record level last year, many of those battling to save the animal say legalising the trade in rhino horn is the only option.

Ranger Tim Parker heads the anti-poaching unit on a wildlife reserve west of the world-famous Kruger National Park and says several times a week horse-riding rangers traverse the dry expanse with a single mission – to catch the poachers.

“They offer a lot more diversity than just walking,” Mr Parker said of the racehorses.

“The height advantage from tracking plays a huge factor, you can cover a lot more terrain, you can get into broken ground where vehicles can’t get to.

“They’re silent when you’re walking, and the big factor is that you don’t get tired because the horses are doing the work for you.”

Champion racehorse trainer Lisa Harris brought the horses to South Africa from Zimbabwe more than a year ago to help the Rhino Revolution organisation in its fight to protect rhinos in the area.

“I saw a gap in the market here and thought we could introduce ex-racehorses that. . . some of them don’t have other uses, for an anti-poaching campaign and it seems to be working,” she said.

Since the launch of the project, no rhino has been poached on the reserve.

“We find that the poachers are very aware that they’re here … and they’re a little bit scared of them,” Ms Harris said.

“Racehorses have a reputation as these big fearful things and so they are quite nervous about them.”

:: Video, audio and more on this report >>


Rhino horn is more lucrative than gold and the global ban on the product is failing.

:: Learn more at Stop Rhino Poaching >>

6 thoughts on “Ex racehorses training to help save rhinos from poachers”

  1. Thank you for using the horses to help save the wildlife of Africa. Give each of those horses some good hay and sweet oats at the end of the day. They deserve it.

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    1. Precisely why we are all here !!! We have all realized this many years ago !!!!! we will be here for the Horses , Burros always !!!! Doing all we can to straighten out the mess that was made !!!! We are here also to Honor and respect them, we know who and what they are !!!!

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  2. Instead of catching the poachers why not arm the the riders with AK47’s the same gun the poachers that are killing off the elephants with. Kill a few of them and it might stop some of this, they would be afraid to come back to these areas if they knew there were armed guards with shoot to kill orders. That’s the way to stop this slaughter.

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    1. sometimes drastic measures need to be executed in order to restore the Balance !!!!! Man must learn to understand all of this is not all about him or her it is about the animals also , they are surely here for many reasons which I need not explain here we are aware of these reasons….. We not only respect them we need them all of them , with special attention payed to the Equines !!!!! Natures own Balance needs to be restored !!!!

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  3. Horses to the Rescue again , we all should drop to our knees and salute and thank them !!!!!They ask for nothing in return !!!!! we just gotta love them dont we !!!!! Race Horses are the most majestic of all the horses, and if you think they are not smart just think again !!!! they might be a little more skidish but it is because of the life they lead…….. I have found that they know who they are, they become very competitive………… because they want to do well at what they do , they understand the Sport, they love the limelight and know when they achieve it !!!!!!

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