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Rhino horns injected with poi­son to pre­vent poaching

pub­lished 22 Decem­ber 2012 | mod­i­fied 22 Decem­ber 2012
White rhinoThis wildlife con­ser­va­tion project injects a per­ma­nent dye into rhino horns to deter and track poach­ers.

The Rhino Res­cue Project aims to pro­tect all rhino’s in South Africa from poach­ing by using an indeli­ble dye to track rhino horns. With the num­ber of rhino’s lost to poach­ing exceed­ing 300 in 2010 alone, over 400 in 2011 and 200 to date in 2012, this inno­v­a­tive solu­tion for rhino poach­ing is a proac­tive approach to deter poach­ers from strik­ing again.

The unique bright dye is pro­duced by mate­ri­als sim­i­lar to those used to mark bank notes and is vis­i­ble on an X-​ray scan­ner even when ground to a fine pow­der. Thus air­port secu­rity check­points are almost cer­tain to pick up the pres­ence of this dye in a treated horn regard­less of whether the horn is intact or in pow­der form. A full DNA sam­ple is har­vested and three match­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion microchips are inserted into the horns and the ani­mal itself as well. Finally, the project is also plan­ning to inject a non-​lethal poi­son to deter any­one from grind­ing up the horns for tra­di­tional med­i­cines.

Test­ing is ongo­ing and com­pre­hen­sive, to ensure that the ani­mals have in no way been harmed by the admin­is­tra­tion of the treat­ment and, based on the research, it is believed that the treat­ment should remain effec­tive for approx­i­mately three to four years.

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at PSFK (psfk​.com). Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and length.
(Source: PSFK, 20.12.2012)
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