In Africa hundreds of rhinos are shot or immobilised by poachers every year to supply ground up horn for the Asian medicine market. It is reputed to make men virile and treat anything from stomach ache to cancer - all just a myth.
South Africa has more rhinos than most other African countries because conservation and breeding have been more successful there. Consequently it has become a major target of the poaching syndicates and many of the rhinos are slaughtered and maimed. Their horns are hacked off - usually while still alive, leaving the injured animals to die.
Many of these rhinos are too badly maimed to survive but a group of vets has taken on the often heart-breaking task of trying to rescue and treat the animals that are not killed.
Although many do not charge for this, the costs of immobilising, testing and treating these animals is still enormous requiring helicopters and trucks as well as large quantities of expensive drugs.
Thousands of miles away from this rhino bloodbath veterinary pathologist Professor Fred Reyers, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln (UK), has been interpreting laboratory blood analysis data, sent to him electronically, to guide the vets who are treating the badly injured survivors.
He said: "Poachers use two approaches: shooting the rhino, with the intention of killing which requires marksmanship and a heavy calibre rifle. More....