IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Rhisotope project

29th June, 2024 Environment

Rhisotope project

Source: The Hindu

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • The Rhisotope project involves injecting radioactive material into rhino horns to deter poaching. The initiative aims to make horns detectable at borders, offering a new strategy for wildlife conservation and poaching prevention.


Key Points

  • Conservation Efforts and Techniques:
    • Use of radioactive material in rhino horns to deter poaching.
    • Comparison of effectiveness with traditional methods like dehorning and poisoning.
  • Biodiversity and Environment:
    • Impact of poaching on rhino populations.
    • Role of conservation projects in protecting endangered species.
  • Science and Technology in Conservation:
    • Application of radioisotopes in wildlife protection.
    • Potential environmental and health impacts of using radioactive materials.
  • International Relations and Security:
    • Detection of radioactive materials at international borders to prevent illegal trade.
    • Global efforts in combating wildlife poaching and trafficking.
  • Ethical and Legal Aspects:
    • Ethical considerations in the use of radioactive materials on animals.
    • Legal frameworks supporting innovative conservation methods.
  • Statistics and Data Interpretation:
    • Poaching statistics and trends in South Africa.
    • Comparison with conservation statistics from other regions, including India.

About ‘Rhisotope’ Project:

  • Objective:
    • To deter poaching by making rhino horns detectable through radioisotopes.
  • Method:
    • Insertion of radioactive material and microdots in rhino horns.
  • Benefits:
    • Enhanced detection at borders, lower costs compared to frequent dehorning.
  • Challenges:
    • Ensuring safety and ethical handling, monitoring long-term effects on rhinos and the environment.
  • Impact:
    • Potential to significantly reduce poaching and set a precedent for similar conservation initiatives globally.

African Rhinoceros vs. Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros:

  • Habitat:
    • African rhinos (white and black) primarily inhabit savannas, woodlands and grasslands.
    • Indian one-horned rhinos are found in the floodplains of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and their tributaries.
  • Population:
    • South Africa is home to the majority of African rhinos. India and Nepal host the Indian one-horned rhino.
  • Conservation Status:
    • Both species face threats from poaching and habitat loss. African rhinos are targeted for their horns, while Indian rhinos also face pressures from habitat encroachment.
  • Conservation Strategies:
    • African strategies include the Rhisotope project and dehorning. India focuses on habitat protection, anti-poaching patrols and community engagement.


The Hindu


Q. Consider the following statements:

1.African rhinos primarily inhabit floodplains and riverine forests.

2.Indian one-horned rhinos are mostly found in savannas and grasslands.

3.Both African and Indian rhinos are targeted by poachers for their horns.

Which of the statements given above is/are NOT correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) 1, 2, and 3

Answer: a)