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Rhino horn asset management
One component of the Rhino Protection Programme’s comprehensive approach involves investigating methods of pro-actively devaluing the asset - the rhino horn – so as to reduce its consumptive value, and demotivate poaching activities by creating risks that outweigh the rewards for criminal syndicates.Chemical alteration After concluding investigations into the possible chemical alteration of rhino horn, it was deduced that this was not a viable option and a decision was made to concentrate on other potential devaluation options, i.e. the irradiation of rhino horn and rhino rapid response and tracking solutions.Irradiation The Nuclear Energy Council of South Africa (NECSA) is making steady progress on the analysis of rhino horn with the objective of applying controlled irradiation to rhino horns to create a detectable “radioactive” signature tag on the horn. Once the study has been concluded, the findings will be presented to the South African nuclear regulating authority, before being made public.

Rapid response and tracking

In partnership with conservation and global technology organisations, four projects have been initiated to investigate various options around sensor technology and how the Internet of Things (IoT) can be leveraged to enhance efforts to combat wildlife crime activities. The systems being investigated have as primary objective to monitor animals in real time and provide early warning and monitoring combinations to determine if an animal is at risk or has been attacked. The aim is to assist the various conservation agencies in fast tracking and improve the effectiveness of their response, consequently preventing incidents and/or saving rhino lives. It is also envisaged that such systems will significantly increase the effectiveness of evidence collection at crime scenes in order to increase conviction rates and further deter would-be poachers.

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