What is Rhisotope Project?

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What is Rhisotope Project? Blog Image


Recently, South African scientists injected radioactive material into live rhinoceros horns under the Rhisotope Project to curb poaching.

About Rhisotope Project: 

  • It was started in 2021 in South Africa.
  • It aims to make the rhinoceros horns easier to detect at border posts and render them useless for human consumption.
  • The project involves inserting two tiny radioactive chips into the horns of 20 rhinos.
  • The low-dose radioactive material is designed to be detectable by radiation sensors at international borders without harming the animals or the environment.
  • The radioactive material is expected to last five years on the horn, making it a more cost-effective solution than dehorning every 18 months. Additionally, the team sprayed 11,000 microdots on each treated horn for further identification.
  • The team of scientists will take follow-up blood samples to ensure the rhinoceroses are effectively protected. 
  • South Africa, home to the majority of the world's rhinos, has been battling a poaching crisis driven by demand from Asia, where rhino horns are used in traditional medicine.

Q1: What is Radioactivity?

Radioactivity is the physical phenomenon of certain elements - such as uranium - of emitting energy in the form of radiation. This energy comes from the decay of an unstable nucleus.

Source: South African scientists make rhino horns radioactive to curb poaching