Rhino Dies in Anti-Poaching Demonstration
Spencer couldn't be revived after sedation
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2012 2:13 AM CST
Workers surround Spencer the rhino after he was sedated during an anti-poaching demonstration. He went into seizures and died.   (karinlab)

(Newser) – A demonstration of a new anti-poaching procedure came to a tragic end in South Africa yesterday. A white rhino that had been sedated in order for veterinarians to implant a tracking device in his horn—and inject it with dye and a pesticide toxic to humans—died under anesthesia in front of stunned journalists, the Globe and Mail reports. "It’s a tragedy, it’s a disaster," says Charles van Niekerk, the vet who developed the technique. The rhino, nicknamed Spencer, was relatively old, and vets will do a post-mortem to see if he had a heart condition.

Van Niekerk says this is the first rhino to die during the experimental procedure. Sedating an animal that size is always risky, he says, but the poaching crisis in South Africa is so severe that desperate measures are called for. "The easy way out is to say ‘No more’—but then the poachers win," he says. "We’re being driven by a desperate need to do something. We had to begin sooner than we wanted to, but if we waited three or four years, are we going to have any rhinos left?"

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Showing 3 of 5 comments
Feb 16, 2012 6:12 PM CST
If you don't think this is hilarious then you are silly. these people are "thinking" they are helping the rhinos by poisoning them... LOL just secure them, stop fucking with them. they are just as bad as the poachers
Feb 10, 2012 6:45 AM CST
One of those "Oh Sh*t" moments . .
Feb 10, 2012 5:04 AM CST
I don't know which is the sadder... the story itself or the number of people who actually think it's hilarious...