Kenya to microchip all rhinos' horns to beat poachers

Oct 16, 2013
A male white rhino grazes at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on November 18, 2010

Kenya will place microchips in the horn of every rhino in the country in a bid to stamp out a surge in poaching the threatened animals, wildlife officials said Wednesday.

"Poachers are getting more sophisticated in their approach," Paul Udoto, spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), told AFP.

"So it is vital that conservation efforts also follow and embrace the use of more sophisticated technology to counter the killing of ."

Kenya has just over 1,000 rhino, and the tiny chips will be inserted and hidden in the horn, which is made of keratin, the same material as fingernails or hardened hair.

The World Wildlife Fund donated the chips as well as five scanners at a cost of $15,000 (11,000 euros), although tracking the rhino to dart them and fit the device will cost considerably more.

However, it will boost the ability of police to prosecute poachers or traffickers, allowing for all animals to be traced and providing potential vital information on poaching and smuggling chains.

"Investigators will be able to link any poaching case to a recovered or confiscated horn, and this forms crucial evidence in court, contributing towards the prosecution's ability to push for sentencing of a suspected rhino criminal," KWS said in a statement.

Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years. Rhinos are not the only animals targeted; whole elephant herds have been massacred for their ivory.

The lucrative Asian black market for rhino horn has driven a boom in poaching across Africa.

Asian consumers falsely believe the horns have powerful healing properties.

In August, poachers shot dead a white rhino in Nairobi's national park, a brazen raid in one of the best guarded sites in Kenya.

Simply chopping the horn off the rhino has limited impact, Udoto explained.

"The horn grows back... and we've so sadly found that can kill a rhino at first sight and only then find that its has been removed," he said.

Explore further: Poachers kill rhino in Kenyan capital park

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poachers kill rhino in Kenyan capital park

Aug 13, 2013

Poachers have shot dead a white rhino in Nairobi's national park, a brazen raid in one of the best guarded sites in Kenya, wildlife officials said Tuesday.

S. Africa rhino toll hits 428 this year

Jun 20, 2013

Poachers have slaughtered at least 428 rhinos in South Africa so far this year, more than two a day, official figures showed Thursday, despite high-profile efforts to curb poaching.

US bars sale, trade of white rhino horns

Sep 10, 2013

The last remaining species of rhinoceros that is not endangered will receive new US protection due to an intensifying poaching crisis, federal wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Vietnam, S.Africa target illegal rhino hunters

May 06, 2013

South Africa and Vietnam have agreed to exchange the names of registered hunters in a bid to stop rhino poachers who obtain hunting permits under false pretences, a spokesman said Monday.

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

15 hours ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jsdarkdestruction
not rated yet Oct 17, 2013
the best move imo is to get as many of them into captivity and set up successful breeding programs asap with the idea of someday re-introducing them when the African conservation acceptance has reached higher levels. the poachers won't stop till every last wild rhino is dead. this article talks about enforcement and such but previous articles have said that in truth it very rarely happens even when the details of who and when are known so I don't have much confidence in this making a big difference. hopefully im wrong and this enables an end to poaching.

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.