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1 minute read
28 May 2015
8:26 am

DNA tests to be done on rhino horns found in Mozambique


A task team fighting rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park is testing DNA samples of rhino horns found in Mozambique two weeks ago to establish whether they belonged to some of the rhino killed in South Africa, police said on Thursday.

FILE PICTURE: A participant with a placard at the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on World Animal Day, Nairobi, Kenya. Picture: EPA

Mozambican authorities recovered large quantities of rhino horn weighing 124 kg and elephant ivory weighing 1126 kg in that country two weeks ago, spokesman Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said in a statement.

”A Chinese national, who was found in possession of the horns and ivory, has since been arrested in Mozambique. The combined value of the horns and ivory is estimated at R65 million.”

The task team and staff from the SA National Parks (SANParks) travelled to Matola, Mozambique, and took DNA samples of all the rhino horns. “The samples would be compared to the E-Rhodis database at the University of Pretoria.

”South Africa’s interest in having the DNA samples taken and tested stems from the strong belief that some of those rhino horns may belong to the rhino killed in the Kruger National Park, which shares the border with Mozambique,” Makgale said.

”The park has been losing rhino, some of the suspects arrested in connection with poaching in the park were Mozambicans.”

He said the task team arrested 133 people between July 2014 and May 2015 during operations in and outside the park.

”The suspects were arrested for offences ranging from illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of ammunition, murder, trespassing in a national park, hunting a protected species, possession and dealing with rhino, racketeering, theft of rhino horn and possession of firearm to commit a crime.”

There has been at least 34 convictions on rhino poaching between 2010 and 2015, Makgale said.