Title

Impeding the rhinoceros surge of slaughter in southern Africa with DNA genetic forensic matching

Location

HCNSO Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center Nova Southeastern University

Start

1-30-2018 10:00 AM

End

1-30-2018 10:15 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral Presentation

Abstract

The recent surge in illegal slaughter of African rhinoceros species has invigorated conservation and law enforcement resolve to intercept and prosecute poachers to the level of life-altering sentences in hopes of stemming the practice, which today is both deftly organized and highly profitable. More than 7000 African black and white rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis and Ceratotherium simum) have been killed through poaching in the past decade across Africa with South Africa suffering the highest losses.

In southern Africa wildlife rangers, law enforcement officials and genome scientists have mounted a DNA individual identification protocol based upon composite short tandem repeat- STR (also called microsatellite; N=23) genotyping of rhinoceros to tie confiscated evidence convincingly to specific poaching incidents for presentation in criminal prosecutions. This completion of the “ circle of evidence” suitable for prosecution involved two critical developments: 1.) population genetic structure of White and Black Rhinoceros species, subspecies and structured populations; and 2.) match probability statistics for separate panmictic rhinoceros populations required to assess the chance of a random match within the studied population.

An extensive database named RhODIS® (Rhino DNA Index System) modeled after CODIS, the US FBI criminal DNA database, accessed 20,000 rhinoceros specimens , DNA profiles and demographic information. RhODIS® data includes > 5800 forensic case samples for which links were made between recovered horns, evidence tissue and specific rhinoceros carcasses in >120 cases. In recent cases forensic genetic individualization allowed life alterring punishments upon conviction, establishing legal precedents for prosecuting traficers of rhino horns suitable for other endangered species traffic . The judicial prosecution, conviction and sentencing of suspects in southern Africa, whereby confiscated rhinoceros horns matched a specific crime scene carcass with a robust “match probability”, affirm the utility of the RhODIS® approach in actual criminal prosecutions of the perpetrators of illegal rhinoceros trade and are changing the legal culture of anti- poaching enforcement.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Jan 30th, 10:00 AM Jan 30th, 10:15 AM

Impeding the rhinoceros surge of slaughter in southern Africa with DNA genetic forensic matching

HCNSO Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center Nova Southeastern University

The recent surge in illegal slaughter of African rhinoceros species has invigorated conservation and law enforcement resolve to intercept and prosecute poachers to the level of life-altering sentences in hopes of stemming the practice, which today is both deftly organized and highly profitable. More than 7000 African black and white rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis and Ceratotherium simum) have been killed through poaching in the past decade across Africa with South Africa suffering the highest losses.

In southern Africa wildlife rangers, law enforcement officials and genome scientists have mounted a DNA individual identification protocol based upon composite short tandem repeat- STR (also called microsatellite; N=23) genotyping of rhinoceros to tie confiscated evidence convincingly to specific poaching incidents for presentation in criminal prosecutions. This completion of the “ circle of evidence” suitable for prosecution involved two critical developments: 1.) population genetic structure of White and Black Rhinoceros species, subspecies and structured populations; and 2.) match probability statistics for separate panmictic rhinoceros populations required to assess the chance of a random match within the studied population.

An extensive database named RhODIS® (Rhino DNA Index System) modeled after CODIS, the US FBI criminal DNA database, accessed 20,000 rhinoceros specimens , DNA profiles and demographic information. RhODIS® data includes > 5800 forensic case samples for which links were made between recovered horns, evidence tissue and specific rhinoceros carcasses in >120 cases. In recent cases forensic genetic individualization allowed life alterring punishments upon conviction, establishing legal precedents for prosecuting traficers of rhino horns suitable for other endangered species traffic . The judicial prosecution, conviction and sentencing of suspects in southern Africa, whereby confiscated rhinoceros horns matched a specific crime scene carcass with a robust “match probability”, affirm the utility of the RhODIS® approach in actual criminal prosecutions of the perpetrators of illegal rhinoceros trade and are changing the legal culture of anti- poaching enforcement.