Wildlife poaching, particularly for ivory and rhino horn, is an international concern. Not only does the world find itself in a position where poaching is threatening the very survival of some species of animals, but wildlife poaching is feeding larger international organized crime activities related to drugs, human trafficking and the illegal sex trade, amongst many others.
Poaching numbers have decreased over the last 5 years, however numbers are beginning to rise again since the pandemic. In South Africa alone, over the last decade on average nearly 850 rhino are killed each year by poachers, with nearly 10,000 rhinos killed by poachers across the African continent during that decade.
Forensic analysis of recovered rhino horn and ivory is very difficult. Chemical and destructive techniques aren’t typically suitable and fingermark techniques do not work or pose a risk due to their chemical, physical, messy and destructive nature. Fingermark evidence can categorically prove who has touched the recovered rhino horn and ivory, linking people directly with that illegal activity and potentially exposing a much wider network of individuals. This can also lead on to providing information of individuals involved in other international organized crime, which could be a significant development and provide otherwise unattainable intelligence of these wider activities.
Using BlindSite, Smytec can provide a non-contact-non-destructive analysis technique for searching, locating and capturing fingermark evidence directly from rhino horn and ivory. There is no requirement for any chemical or physical powders and the evidence remains untouched and intact
Smytec can provide training, teaching, support, guidance and expertise for analyzing rhino horn and ivory for fingermark evidence and potentially Touch DNA as well, alongside offering an option to lease BlindSite for wildlife poaching investigations