STIHL supports vital rhino dehorning project

There has been an alarming surge in rhino poaching, particularly within the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP), forcing Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, in collaboration with WWF South Africa, to undertake a rhino dehorning programme. Tragically, KZN lost 325 rhinos in 2023, with a significant 307 of those poached within HiP, despite concerted efforts to stem the increased poaching.

The dehorning programme marks a pivotal moment in Ezemvelo’s anti-poaching efforts, aligning with proven strategies implemented elsewhere, such as in Kruger National Park. Ezemvelo CEO, Mr Sihle Mkhize, stressed that while dehorning is ‘not a panacea’, it forms part of a comprehensive approach to disincentivise poachers. “Rhino dehorning goes against the grain of what we stand for, but the persistent threat posed by poachers has necessitated more drastic measures…”

The recently approved Ezemvelo KZN Guardianship Strategy for Rhinoceros aims to significantly reduce poaching incidents. It complements several initiatives, including:

  • Approximately R11 million from the KZN province to erect a smart fence to cover a significant portion of HiP where poaching levels are high;
  • Financial support of +-R40 million from the Dept of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment to extend the area protected by the smart fence;
  • Increasing field ranger numbers from 45 to 88 and improving ranger living conditions;
  • Installing trackers in all vehicles;
  • Improving relations with adjacent communities;
  • Additional helicopter hours with night vision capability;
  • The appointment of Mr Sthembiso Ndlovu as the Senior Manager: Rhino Protection

To ensure that the dehorning process is as fast and as safe as possible, STIHL SA has donated equipment to WWF South Africa to support this cause, including 8 high-powered chainsaws, sharpeners, protective chainsaw pants to be worn by those doing the dehorning, worth more than R100 000. 

“If removing their horns is the only way we can save the lives of our magnificent rhinos, then it has to be done, albeit with a sense of sadness,” says STIHL managing director, Mr Hayden Hutton. “We are humbled to be able to play a part in this project, undertaken in such tragic circumstances. We hope this will ensure the survival of this species so that the next generation of humans is able to see rhinos in their natural environment – not only in picture books.”

For questions, please contact:


Ms Samantha Paterson, Marketing Manager, STIHL SA


Company Profile

The global STIHL Group develops, manufactures, and distributes outdoor power equipment for forestry, agriculture, landscaping, construction, and discerning consumers. The product range is complemented by digital solutions and services. The products are sold to end users through authorised servicing dealers, which are set to be expanded internationally over the next few years. The STIHL Group’s sales network consists of 41 sales and marketing companies, approximately 120 importers and more than 54,000 independent, authorised dealers in over 160 countries. STIHL has its own manufacturing plants in seven countries: Germany, the US, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, China and the Philippines. STIHL has been the world’s best-selling chainsaw brand since 1971. The company was founded in 1926 and is based in Waiblingen near Stuttgart, Germany.

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