By introducing harmless amounts of radioactive isotopes into their horns, researchers aim to make them more detectable when crossing international borders, which should decrease their demand on the market.
The Rhisotope project is carried out in collaboration with several international partners - the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Colorado State University (USA), ROSATOM (Russian Federation), and the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa). It aims to stop the rhino horn trade, which, despite being illegal and banned internationally, continues to this day.
A kilogram of it can be valued at about $50,000, the Rhisotope Project says.
According to the South African Department for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, 394 rhinos were poached in South Africa during 2020.
At the current rate, wild rhinos could be extinct in less than 8 to 10 years.
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