It was National Rhino Day in South Africa on the 21st of Aug and we once again joined Christine le Roux from the Born Free Foundation and the Shamwari’s anti-poaching unit, to make some noise for Rhinos with the schools from Paterson, Eastern Cape. To date (23 Oct 2012) over 460 Rhinos have been poached in South Africa (over240 in Kruger National Park alone!!).
Rhino poaching has surpassed 2011’s numbers by a record of over 460 poached Rhinos so far in 2012. As result a decision was made to set up a DNA data base of all rhino in South Africa by using a micro-chip system to keep track of all rhino. Micro-chips are placed in each horn, and on under the skin. Blood and hair samples of each Rhino is also taken to add to the DNA data base. Each micro- chip has a unique bar code which can be scanned to see which Rhino it belongs to. Thus, if a rhino horn for instance is found in another country one can at least track where it came from. Shamwari Game Reserve is doing this to all its Rhinos and the friendly conservation staff always lets the SCE volunteers working with animals tag along and help with the data collection process. This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity for most volunteers who can get up close to the Rhino and feel it’s rough skin.