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.


"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

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
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Fire white civil servants in W Cape - Cosatu

If the ANC wins the Western Cape in the 7 May general election, Cosatu will ask it to fire more than half the white senior civil servants.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Newlands - 12:22 PM
    Road name: M3 Northbound
    DELAYS on Wynberg Hill
  • Thursday Newlands - 12:21 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Woolsack Drive and Wynberg Hill
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop 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

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

The Blackberry Bold Touch 9900 is as the name says...

From R3565.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

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


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.


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.