About Rhinos’ Last Stand

 
 

Rhinos’ Last Stand is a joint venture between SeekerDNA and Rhino Rescue Project to save the rhino from the brink of extinction. Population figures are continuing to fall as a result of poaching so we plan to use new technological solutions and fresh thinking as a last chance to save the rhino and ensure that this magnificent creature continues to roam the earth, not just during our lifetime, but for generations to come. 

This joint venture has brought together a range of experts across areas as diverse as DNA, anaesthetics, poaching, and smuggling – as well as veterinarians and animal welfare experts of course. Together we have committed to protecting the future legacy of the rhino. 

The solution we have developed by bringing together SeekerDNA and Rhino Rescue Project is completely unique and works by infusing a rhino horn with four substances — Ectoparasiticides is a habitat friendly anti-parasitic (toxic to humans), an indelible pink dye to signal a horn as unfit for human consumption, a forensic DNA taggant which is unique to the reserve and/or rhino and a UV marker which enables quick detection of forensic DNA.

This renders a rhino horn, once treated, valueless. It removes the financial incentive for poachers to steal the horns. Our strategy also vastly increases the risk to poachers (and those involved in the process) of being arrested and convicted. Therefore, poaching the rhino for its horn becomes high risk and there is no reward.

 
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Statement from Mike Kendrick - Co-Founder and Director

I first became personally aware of the slaughter of African wildlife when I stumbled upon an illegally hunted animal carcass in Tanzania. It had a profound effect on me.  I was to witness several other examples whilst working in South Africa and Mozambique. It was devastating to see the carnage and hopelessness.

Not just for the animals, which often suffered long, slow and agonising deaths, but for the people living and co-existing with these beautiful creatures. They too felt a great sense of loss to their heritage and to their own existence as an abundance of wildlife has a direct bearing on their own well-being. African wildlife attracts many visitors who observe the natural but diminishing wonder at the animal kingdom that inhabits this great continent.

The iconic rhino is in the most urgent need of help as rhino horn is very valuable, simply due to the fact that humans consume the horn, believing it has some magical power as an aphrodisiac or to cure cancer.

During one of my many meetings with Nelson Mandela we talked about the terrifying possibility of seeing the iconic and unique African fauna disappearing and I promised I would try to help.

It is a promise I intend to keep. I will always remember a phrase of his, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

I searched for new technology and found it was already available. It just needed putting together. I reasoned that we should take away the motivation for poaching rhinos and make it easier to catch the criminals involved in poaching, trafficking and selling the illegally obtained horn. If the horn of the rhino was worthless and there was a high probability of the poachers and traffickers being convicted, would they bother to kill them?

We knew that forensic DNA was available in the fight against crime and if this could be infused into the horn it would make it traceable. DNA evidence is irrefutable. I tracked down the DNA suppliers and acquired the rights.

So how do we make the horns valueless? Luckily, I found Lorinda Hern of the Rhino Rescue Project, who had already figured out that by introducing a pink toxin that is unfit for human consumption. In my view, Lorinda is the face of saving the rhino. She is dedicated and passionate about conservation, anti-poaching and the preservation of rhinos. She is without doubt one of the most determined people I have ever met. Put simply, she is awesome.

We have now combined the two technologies and processes and formed Rhinos’ Last Stand. We are developing techniques to treat other species, but need to focus on saving the rhinos first as they are in the greatest danger of extinction.

Poachers beware! You will be caught!