CSI for rhinos
Catching poachers is one thing; making sure that they are locked up for a very long time is another. Luckily we have our very own CSI for rhinos…The forensic aspect of the war against poaching makes use of RhODISTM, a South African developed, rhino DNA profiling method, which enables prosecutors to link evidence presented in court to a specific rhino poaching incident. This method has already been used to successfully convict and sentence numerous rhino poachers. The RhODISTM project’s DNA profiling technique has been validated legally and the evidence it provides has been accepted and verified in a court of law.
A machine known as the genetic analyser is the key piece of equipment in giving the final DNA profile. Unfortunately, the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL), where RhODIS is housed, only has one such machine – and so the number of cases it can process is limited. They need a second machine, but at R2.5-million, this highly specialised technology doesn’t come cheap.
But now an even bigger crisis has hit. The existing machine has stopped working! This has halted the progress on all current rhino DNA work. The repairs are going to cost R100 000.
Unite against Poaching* has taken the lead and together with the SANParks Honorary Rangers, we have committed to help. Apart from the R5.7-million already spent, we have now established a very specific fund with the aim of gathering the required capital to fix the existing machine – and buy the desperately needed second genetic analyser – for the RhODISTM project.
Your urgent contribution is needed to help to repair RhODIS’ machine and buy the second one, and thereby help to convict criminals involved in rhino poaching.
We are calling this project ‘Unite for RhODIS’. 100% of the funds generated will be channelled towards fixing and procuring DNA equipment and no money will be used for administration.
Help prosecute the criminals and save our rhinos!!
Donations can be made to the Unite for RhODIS fund:
SANParks Honorary Rangers,
Branch: Die Heuwel, Witbank,
Branch Code: 158-550,
Account No: 1585-392-448,
Account Type: Current
Reference Code: RhODIS
Or via the Unite for RhODIS GivenGain portal at:
Issued by : Linda Joyce
Marketing System Administrator, Unitrans Volkswagen, Unite against Poaching
Tel: +27 11 795 5000, Mobile: +27 82 557 9183
For information on RhODISTM please contact:
Dr Cindy Harper
Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort Campus
Tel: 012 529 8450
E-mail : Cindy.Harper@up.ac.za
*Unite against Poaching, an initiative of Unitrans Volkswagen and the SANParks Honorary Rangers, have stepped up to the plate and are doing their best to help in the war against Poaching. For each vehicle sold within the participating dealerships, (both new and pre-owned) funds are pledged to the Unite against Poaching trust fund. To date over R 5.7 million has been used within SANParks and is certainly making a difference to the rangers in the field who are faced with armed and dangerous poachers, desperate to get to the rhino horn. For more information on the Unite against Poaching trust fund, and to find out how the funds are being spent go to www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za or www.sanparksvolunteers.org/uap
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