Scientists make live rhino horns radioactive to fight poaching

By Around the Web

(SCIENCE ALERT) – South African scientists on Tuesday injected radioactive material into live rhino horns to make them easier to detect at border posts in a pioneering project aimed at curbing poaching.

The country is home to a large majority of the world’s rhinos and as such is a hotspot for poaching driven by demand from Asia, where horns are used in traditional medicine for their supposed therapeutic effect.

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At the Limpopo rhino orphanage in the Waterberg area, in the country’s northeast, a few of the thick-skinned herbivores grazed in the low savannah.

James Larkin, director of the University of the Witwatersrand’s radiation and health physics unit who spearheaded the initiative, told AFP he had put “two tiny little radioactive chips in the horn” as he administered the radioisotopes on one of the large animals’ horns.

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