Konica Minolta South Africa has renewed its support of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) African Rhino Programme for the next year.
Alan Griffith, MD of Konica Minolta South Africa, says: “According to WWF, our donation to the programme over the past year has helped the South African rhino DNA index system, called RhODIS, contribute evidence to more than 400 investigative rhino poaching cases in South Africa.
Programme extended into Kenya
The WWF-Konica Minolta South Africa partnership has been instrumental in the introduction of RhODIS into Kenya, where a large percentage of the critically endangered East African black rhino population resides.
More than 300 DNA forensic kits have been donated to support ongoing investigations and the collection of live rhino samples for DNA profiling within the region.
Demand for rhino horn needs addressing
Dr Joseph Okori, the head of WWF’s African Rhino Programme, states that, while poaching prevention and investigation remain key, addressing the demand for rhino horn is also critical. “We have increased our efforts in addressing this side of the equation, in particular creating a greater awareness of illegal trade concerns across Asia.
“This means that Konica Minolta South Africa’s contribution was also used for specialised rhino and horn scanners for micro-chipped marked rhinos and their horns.
These kits have gone directly to special operation units within government. However, some are to be handed over to Vietnam during the South Africa-Vietnam signing of a bilateral memorandum of understanding that would see strengthening of border and ports monitoring coupled with improved information sharing.
Business involvement can help save rhinos
“We are certainly in a growth phase of our partnership with Konica Minolta South Africa and believe that this type of strong corporate engagement can only lead to greater things for conservation.
We plan to continue to support the continued delivery on rhino horn DNA profiling, as well as provide for the production and distribution of 600 forensic kits for five Africa rhino range states, to improve both rhino management and traceability.”
Says Griffith: “Konica Minolta South Africa is passionate about the preservation of the rhino and, based on the successes seen over 2011 and 2012, has pledged to continue to support WWF’s programme into 2013. We look forward to seeing many more conservation victories as well as the protection and growth of the African rhino population.”