DNA to fight rhino poaching

2011-06-28 14:26
Skukuza - The fight against rhino poaching has gone hi-tech following the donation of 1 000 DNA kits to the Kruger National Park (KNP).

Park spokesperson William Mabasa said the DNA Rhino Sample kits, which were handed over by the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria last week, would help prosecutors secure convictions of people arrested for possession of rhino horns.

"At the moment, when we arrest a person with a rhino horn, we are unable to prove that the person killed a rhino and dehorned it," said Mabasa.

"The kits will certainly change the trend of suspects found in possession of rhino horn only being charged with possession. The horns in their possession will be linked to a carcass lying somewhere in a national park or game reserve," he explained.

Mabasa said the ability to obtain a full DNA profile from a rhino horn would allow investigators to match recovered horns to specific poaching incidents.

Management

"When the rangers come across with a carcass they will take its DNA sample and store it in order to link it with horns that are being seized by law enforcers," he said.

He said rangers could also use the device to capture the date on which a particular rhino was killed and dehorned.

Chief executive of South African National Parks, David Mabunda, said the donation would go a long way in ensuring management of the rhino population.

"Throughout the years, DNA evidence has ensured that criminal elements were locked up as the analysis of information collected proved to be the only working weapon to halt criminals in their tracks," said Mabunda.

He said technology was the answer to the Kruger's poaching problem.

"The scourge of rhino poaching we are faced with needs sophisticated equipment. Technology is needed to resolve the problems in a national par," he said.

According to SANParks, there are 22 000 rhino in the country. In 2010, 333 rhino were killed in South Africa. In 2009, 122 rhino were killed in the country, compared to only 13 that were poached in 2007.

More than 159 rhino have been killed in the Kruger this year alone while a total of 124 suspected rhino poachers were arrested around the country, of which 62 were arrested in the KNP.

Dr Cindy Harper, head of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria, reiterated that the primary aim of the project was to support the investigation of poaching incidents through forensic DNA testing.

The University of Pretoria is not the only institution that supports the DNA Rhino Sample kits project, but also a host of other partners, including SAB Miller, BMW, 702 Talk Radio through its LeadSA Campaign.
 
Read more on:    sanparks  |  animals  |  rhino poaching  |  poaching  |  genetics
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.