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 Peace Parks Foundation, 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®.
The machine sponsored by the Castle Lager Boucher Legacy has helped the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory to run 15 384 rhino samples since it’s arrival in the lab.
We have a range of professional staff dedicated to the project
Dr. Cindy Harper
Gideon van der Merwe
Claudette van Zyl
Organizations who support the RhODIS® project
Peace Parks Foundation, under the auspices of the Rhino Protection Programme, has provided funding to support the development of the eRhODIS application, intended to simplify the collection of DNA data from the field for real-time input to RhODIS.
The fight against Rhino poaching has received a much needed shot in the arm from the Castle Lager Boucher Legacy NPC “Our Rhino in safe hands” programme.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a catalyst for action on the environment and much more. Through its strategic investments, the GEF works with partners to tackle the planet’s biggest environmental issues.
The primary objective of the UNEP-GEF Rhino Programme is to improve the effectiveness of efforts to combat wildlife crime in South Africa’s Protected Area System, focused on rhinoceros, through improved forensic technologies and capacity