Hooo-Hooo Hooo-Hooo Volume 11 Nr 4 - Page 10

WildLife Group of the SAVA The severe blood loss around the head indicated that the horn removal took place just prior to or soon after the death of the male. The recovered bullet (a suspected .375 calibre) was submitted to attending police as evidence and for further ballistics investigation (Figure 3). DNA Samples A 4 x 4 cm ear notch (cut using a single-use disposable scalpel and transferred to a sterile container with coarse salt) and two, 4 ml Ethylene-Diamine-Tetra- acetic Acid (EDTA) Vacutainer® (BD Vacutainer®; New Jersey, USA) blood tubes (filled with un-clotted blood collected from the thoracic cavity during the post mortem examination, using a sterile 20 ml syringe) were collected per animal in the presence of an SAPS member under the RhODIS® guidelines. Discussion This case study describes the forensic post mortem of a poached black rhino sub-adult bull where two bullet tracts were observed but only one bullet was discovered, followed by the collection of and submission of biological samples for DNA profiling of the animal. Furthermore, it describes the immense pressure this species is under from poachers and the methods used by these individuals to remove the horns. On some occasions, one may have to treat survivors and the veterinarian should also be prepared for this scenario. Investigating a Wildlife Crime Scene It is important to take many photographs throughout a forensic and post mortem examination, as this ensures that minor details are not forgotten later on whilst writing the report. Prior to beginning the post mortem examination, the scene was secured and thoroughly inspected by the SAPS in order to locate and identify any ‘trace evidence’ that was present at the site and which could link the perpetrators to the crime. Although the veterinarian is often asked to assist this process, all evidence should be handled by the SAPS or alternative law enforcement officials only. Important trace evidence includes firearms, cartridges, darts, bullets and cartridge cases, suspicious or personal items (e.g. cell phones, note 10 books, scraps of paper,