By Kate Bastians
A WA company is spearheading the fight against rhino poaching after designing cutting-edge technology that has been snapped up by South Africa's leading rhino protection agency.
Meridian Services has teamed up with the Rhino Action Group Effort to "paint" rhino's horns with an invisible spray that glows when it is placed under ultraviolet light.
The paint, called Chameleon, carries a unique signature and can be traced to the game reserve where the rhino was poached.
Meridian director Nina Hobson said the paint would be provided to RAGE free in the hope it would bring an end to the cruel poaching practice.
"At present, the poachers are removing the tags that are placed in the horns but they will not be able to remove the Chameleon paint," she said.
"As there is still a limited hunting trade that is regulated, it is easy for poachers to say the horn has been taken legally."
Ms Hobson said the paint's unique chemical fingerprint would help authorities clamp down on the organised crime syndicates that were largely behind poaching.
"The police or border protection would only need to have access to a special torch at the time of examination … so that we could search the database to establish when and where the rhino horn was marked," she said.
Meridian hoped to start painting rhino horns at Shamwari Private Game lodge in South Africa soon.
Rhino poaching increased 43 per cent between 2011 and 2012, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.