Govt welcomes funds to fight rhino poaching

2012-06-27 13:09
Rhino poaching is highest in SA, according to the WWF. (Green Renaissance)

Rhino poaching is highest in SA, according to the WWF. (Green Renaissance)

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Cape Town - Environmental affairs has welcomed the $3m (about R25m) it received earlier this month from the Global Environment Facility to fight rhino poaching.

The money would be used for, among other things, the "enhancement of forensic-based technologies", including DNA identification of rhino horn, the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Advances in... science have made it possible to use DNA analysis for the examination of evidence for a variety of legal issues involving wild animals."

The department would sign a memorandum of understanding with the University of Pretoria to "facilitate collaborations to thwart the ongoing scourge of [rhino] poaching".

This followed the publication earlier this year of new norms and standards for the marking of rhino horn, and the hunting of white rhino for trophy purposes.

Department spokesperson Albie Modise said the funding would mainly be used to help improve the capabilities of the university's Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, and a "broad suite of measures" to combat rhino poaching.

A rhino DNA database was being established, he said.

South Africa is home to about 22 000 white and black rhino, about 93% of the world's rhino population.
Read more on:    rhino poaching

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