CSI-style tactics to crack rhino poaching

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Walker Bay

    Default CSI-style tactics to crack rhino poaching

    When a suspected rhino poaching kingpin was stopped in a sting operation near Johannesburg, the empty bag police found in his car initially indicated that they would have to let their quarry go.

    But dust in the bottom of the bag still contained minute traces of the hacked-off horns which a tip-off to detectives suggested the suspect had just sold.

    It was evidence enough to link him to the deaths of two rhinos in the Kruger National Park and round up the poaching syndicate he allegedly ran of South African, Chinese and Vietnamese nationals, including a game ranger and a former policeman. The gang are now on trial for multiple charges.

    Its fate was sealed by the work of a South Africa's dedicated rhino DNA testing laboratory that is unique in the world for its efforts to protect what is fast becoming one of its most threatened species.

    The University of Pretoria's Veterinary Genetics Laboratory processes forensic samples taken from virtually every wildlife crime scene in the country. Bloodied axes and machetes, trainers and clothes are all studied along with rhino, skin, bone and horn in a bid to link poaching suspects to their kills.

    Also based at the laboratory is the Rhino DNA Index System (Rhodis), which aims to catalogue the genetic profiles of every living rhino – there are currently 25,000 spread out among South African, Kenya, Namibia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2014/02/08 at 02:06 AM.

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