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Will All African Rhinos be Dead in Twenty Years?

The flat bone had a bullet hole through it wide enough to fit the tip of a pinky finger, and was caked in a dried mix of Kruger National Park’s rusty clay earth, and blood. Two cracks had propagated outwards from where the bullet entered. This sort of ballistics evidence is a crucial aspect of rhino poaching forensic work, but the crime scene was already a few weeks old—well scavenged by lions, hyenas, and vultures—and the bullet was nowhere to be found.  Nearby, the helicopter was cooling off, and two overworked investigators, with help from the pilot, were scouring the South African lowveld for clues. Frik Rossouw, a former policeman, and now legendary environmental crime scene investigator, had the unenviable task of searching the hollowed-out body cavity of the rhino carcass with a metal detector and then hacking off a sliver of the rhino’s toe for a DNA sample. Maggots wriggled in black ooze as he chopped.  “We have a major backlog,” Rossouw had said that morning about following up on poached rhinos in Kruger.

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