A rhino DNA database kept at the University of Pretoria's Veterinary Faculty at Onderstepoort, is proving effective in the fight against rhino poaching. The project, the Rhino DNA Index System (RhoDIS), aims to collect DNA profiles of all rhino's in the country. It was begun in early 2010.
By last year, close to 400 rhino poachers had been arrested and about 25 jailed thanks to DNA evidence from the project.
“We have over 1000 forensic cases in our laboratory at the moment. This is an on-going thing. As the poaching cases come in, we do it and it is being incredibly effective,” says Director of the Veterinary Genetics laboratory at Onderstepoort, Doctor Cindy Harper.
She says that it is one of the tools that investigators use.
“They have a number of other tools but because this is something new and that is DNA, it has been used a lot in human forensic cases as well,” says Harper.
She says it is also well-utilised by the courts and it has been used in a number of cases.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people have taken part in the University of Pretoria's Summer Run4Rhino fun race near its Hatfield campus.
Young and old ran the five or ten kilometre races, while pet owners opted for the shorter fun walk.
The aim of the family event was mainly to raise funds for the university's rhino DNA project.