Anti-poaching sniffer bees idea a winner

2012-07-24 11:45
An idea by two school girls to use honey bees to combat rhino poaching won them a young scientist regional competition. (Heribert Proepper, AP)

An idea by two school girls to use honey bees to combat rhino poaching won them a young scientist regional competition. (Heribert Proepper, AP)

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VIDEO: Rhino poaching

2012-07-19 08:53

This YouTube video examines the issue of rhino poaching in South Africa. WARNING: Graphic content.WATCH

East London - An idea by two school girls to use honey bees to combat rhino poaching won them a young scientist regional competition, according to a report on Tuesday.

Their idea entailed training bees to detect substances like rhino horn, which they hope would help curb poaching, Dispatch Online reported.

Louise Poole and Jamie-Lee Stone are Grade 9 pupils at Kingswood College. The regional Eskom Expo for Young Scientists was held in Grahamstown last Friday. Their project won them a scholarship each for a year's study at Rhodes University.

A handful of bees were trained to detect the smell of kudu horn. A kudu was substituted for rhino as they could not obtain a rhino horn.

The bees learnt to associate the rhino smell with sugar water, said Stone.

"Bees have a powerful sense of smell... they could track a grain of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool," she said.

Stone said they were easier and cheaper to transport to border posts where they could be used to detect smuggled rhino horn.

Stone and Poole will present their project at the National Science Expo in Pretoria in October.
- SAPA
Read more on:    east london  |  science  |  good news
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