RhODIS® - Rhino DNA Indexing System
RhODIS® (Rhino DNA Index System) is a project that was initiated by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory of the University of Pretoria in order to help with the plight of the rhinos. The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory is collecting DNA samples of rhinos across the country to create a database using the unique DNA profile of individual rhinos. The goal is for all rhinos to be on the system. This will deter poachers and assist in forensic prosecutions.
RhODIS® was first used in a rhino poaching case in 2010 and resulted in a Vietnamese citizen being sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for having rhinoceros horns from poached rhinos in his baggage when he was apprehended at OR Thambo International Airport. South African National Parks (SANParks) have partnered with RhODIS since 2010 and in association with the Forensics Science Laboratory of the South African Police Services have played a key role in the development and implementation of the RhODIS Kit for sample collection.
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs introduced amendments to the norms and standards for sample collection and identification of live and poached rhinos under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 which requires that samples are collected from all poached rhinos and other rhinos that are immobilized or die using RhODIS® kits which then have to be submitted to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory for inclusion on the RhODIS® database. A number of other bodies including the South African National Parks Honorary Rangers, the World Wildlife Fund, corporates and individuals have donated funds to support the development and implementation of RhODIS®.