A wildlife reserve in South Africa says that a group of rhino poachers got eaten by a pride of lions after the poachers broke into the park earlier this week. A police spokesperson told the Herald that a forensic team will examine the human remains recovered on the scene. It is estimated that there are fewer than 30,000 rhinos in the world, and South Africa is home to more than 80% of the remaining population. Poaching is continually shrinking that number, however, as more than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2017, according to National Geographic.
South African authorities long had eyes on Rogers Mukwena. They knew the former schoolteacher was wanted in Zimbabwe for poaching rhinoceroses and selling their horns, which can command hundreds of thousands of dollars. He’d jumped bail and fled to northern Pretoria, but it was vexingly difficult to catch and prosecute him — until a scientist helped make the case against him with rhino DNA. His subsequent conviction resulted from a new tactic in wildlife preservation: The genetic fingerprinting methods that have been so successful in the criminal justice system are now being used to solve poaching crimes.
Wildlife officials in Africa are to be trained by UK scientists in crime scene investigation and DNA forensic analysis to tackle elephant and rhino poaching. Officials in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe will receive specialist training to hep carry out forensic investigations on the crime scenes created by carcasses of animals slaughtered for their tusks or horns, conservation experts said. Staff from wildlife crime and trade organisations Edinburgh-based Trace and Cambridge-based Traffic will provide the training, with the support of £400,000 over two years from the People's Postcode Lottery. The funding will also provide specialist tools including field forensic kits and DNA sequencing equipment.