This 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.