Rhino DNA Database: Dr Cindy Harper – University Of Pretoria

UPSouth Africa

SUPPORT FOCUS: Rhino Conservation

As a result of the success of the Rock ‘N’ Ride for Rhino fundraiser which IAPF helped to lead, $11000 was donated to Dr Cindy Harper and her team in 2014. 

The Rhino DNA Index System (RHoDIS) is run by Dr Cindy Harper, veterinarian and genetics specialist, to create a database of all of the rhinos in South Africa by taking unique DNA samples of the creatures.

The DNA Lab is based at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science at Onderstepoort, and is used to successfully prosecute suspects for rhino poaching. Since its inception in 2010, the rhino DNA database has contributed to a total of 47 years imprisonment for illegal rhino related activities. The power of this system is increasing substantially with the numbers of rhinoceros DNA profiles being added to the database weekly.

The aim is to have all of South Africa’s rhinos on the system in order to provide suitable evidence in the forensic prosecutions of poachers and ultimately prevent poaching.