RhinoLOVE update!

It has been a busy and exciting month for our rhinoLOVE project! We had two groups of guests attend a rhino conservation week in the Greater Kruger National Park region. Here they spent the week learning about the rhino poaching crisis and assisting in anti-poaching efforts first hand.

During the week the guests did various activities including tracking rhinos on foot, flying in a small anti-poaching aircraft to see how rhino patrols work, paid a visit to organisations caring for rhino orphans, meeting anti-poaching rangers and dogs in training and assisted in a rhino notching procedure.

A rhino notching procedure is where vets dart and sedate a wild rhino, once the rhino is in the correct position they make scientific marking in it’s ear, the vets also collect data in order to build a very important database of the rhino in the area. The ear markings help easily identify the rhino and therefore make it easy to monitor and track it’s movements. A great anti-poaching procedure that ensures the Southern African Wildlife College can keep a close eye on the rhinos in the area and keep them safe! The rhino’s were named Andrea and Aussie!

Thank you to our guests who raised money and were able to fund the trips! You have made a real difference! We would also like to thank Rhino Revolution, Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and the Southern African Wildlife College for having us.

If you would like to support our project by donating please visit: http://www.safarifrank.com/frank-gesas-scheduled-safaris/

If you are interested in joining our 2018 rhino tours please register your interest here: http://www.safarifrank.com/frank-gesas-scheduled-safaris/


BIG BUST!

FIFTY people arrested for wildlife crime over the past 2 months!

The rhino poaching task team recovered 15 silencers, two pistols, one shotgun and 155 rounds of ammunition.

In the process they recovered 13 rhino horns, two elephant tusks and 19 hunting rifles during ongoing police operations in various parts of the country.

The suspects were aged between 24 and 58 years. “As per standard procedure, the rifles and pistols were sent to the SAPS’s Forensic Science Laboratory in Pretoria for ballistic testing, primarily to determine if they had been used to commit other crimes,” said Naidoo. “The suspects appeared in various courts across the three provinces for charges ranging from the possession of unlicensed firearms, conspiracy to commit crime, the possession of counterfeit goods, illegal hunting, the possession of rhino horns, the possession of protected endangered species and the possession of elephant tasks.”

This is yet another major breakthrough in the fight against rhino poaching!

Two of the men arrested were found in the possession of a firearm, which connected them to more than 60 cases of rhino poaching countrywide. Shocking!

Full article: https://www.all4women.co.za/1113695/news/south-african-news/50-arrested-wildlife-crimes-past-2-months


New Weapon in Anti-Poaching!

A portable, cheap DNA sequencer could become to poachers what a breathalyzer has become to drunk drivers!!

The world’s first pocket-sized DNA sequencer, called the MinION, is exciting genetic researchers worldwide. The British biotech corporation Oxford Nanopore Technologies developed the 87-gram USB module, which can replace almost an entire laboratory. Its name refers to its minimal size, the ions that flow through it, as well as the producing company’s name.

The device is not only more compact than its lab cousins but, with a price tag of about $1,000, also more affordable and faster. It can identify the DNA barcode genes of animals and plants alike in real time, if necessary even in the field. The MinION takes about an hour for the DNA sequencing of a blood stain—a process that usually takes a week in a laboratory.

Thanks to its size and speed, the MiniON is highly coveted by crime-fighting agencies that require proof of DNA as evidence.Continue Reading this Article

This includes the fight against wildlife crime. John Wetton, Co-Director of the Alec Jeffreys Forensic Genomics Unit at the University of Leicester in the UK, can think of numerous scenarios in which poachers and smugglers could be apprehended much more efficiently if the MinION were used: “One of the key questions in wildlife crime is identifying the species of origin of biological traces, whether that be a bloodstain on a suspected elephant or rhino poacher’s knife, whether bushmeat in a market is from a common species or an…endangered one and whether the filleted fish being sold at the dockside of a trawler is from a permitted species or outside of quota,”

Read full article here: http://observer.com/2017/01/how-to-stop-wildlife-poachers/