RhODIS® - Rhino DNA Indexing System


Our latest news are listed below. Click here for older articles.

A Blessing on World Rhino Day

The emotional attachment and pride South Africans feel for the rhinoceros can be seen through the growing populations of the species within our borders. South Africa is viewed as the primary custodian of Africa’s rhinos....

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RhODIS® Scientific Workshop 2016

The workshop, funded by USAID, through the Wildlife-TRAPS Project, and the WWF African Rhino Programme, brought together wildlife DNA forensic scientists, enforcement officers and investigators from source, transit and consumer countries of rhino horn. ....

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RhODIS attended CITES COP17

From 24 September - 5 October 2016, RhODIS attended the seventeenth conference of the parties to CITES event in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more information about the event, please click here http://www.citescop17jhb.co.za ....

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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.

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.


  • Rhino Samples

    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.

  • Donations

    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®.

  • Poaching Cases

    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.

Our Team

We have a range of professional staff dedicated to the project
Dr. Cindy Harper
Dr. Harper is the Director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort. She is also the lead in charge of the RhODIS and eRhODIS projects and oversees all of the decisions made.
Gideon van der Merwe
Systems Developer
Gideon is in charge of developing software, adding features and building infrastructure.
Chantelle Schutte
Kit Distribution & Client Relations
Chantelle assists in packing and sending out rhino forensic, routine and stockpile kits and works directly with our clients.
Claudette van Zyl
Kit Distribution & Client Relations
Claudette assists in packing and sending out rhino forensic, routine and stockpile kits and works directly with our clients.
Kagiso Makgopela
Junior Technical Assistant
Kagiso is in charge of receiving and extracting all rhino samples which are forensic, routine and stockpile samples.


Our Supporters

Organizations who support the RhODIS® project

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