By Charlie Peat
A vet has described his experiences tagging a white rhino in South Africa as “too good an opportunity to miss”.
Simon Hayes, who has worked at Village Vet in Winchmore Hill for 20 years, was flown out to Cape Town on a conservation mission to protect the animals from poachers, who kill the animals for their horns.
As part of a small group of UK vets, Mr Hayes attended the World Small Animal Veterinary Congress before being taken to Kruger National Park.
Mr Hayes was joined by Village Vet owner, Brendan Robinson and business partner Russell Welsh on a programme to place microchips on the animals' horns and necks.
Mr Hayes, who joined one of the rangers missions last month, said: "This was an incredible experience. The chance to dart a rhino in the wild and be part of trying to save these magnificent creatures was too good an opportunity to miss."
Poaching has increased dramatically in the past five years, with more than 600 rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa so far this year.
The horns have been known to sell for $100,000 per kilo and are mainly sold to the Chinese medicine market as an aphrodisiac.