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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 06:55 GMT
How to 'fingerprint' a rhinoceros
Lindsay Peppin
Lindsay Peppin says the techniques should help catch rhino poachers
A student is trying to perfect the art of catching rhinoceros poachers using "fingerprinting" techniques.

Lindsay Peppin, 25, a research student at Bangor University, has used human DNA techniques to help identify rhino poachers in Africa.

"The idea is to link up blood stains, on a poacher's clothing for example, to a rhino carcass," she said.

She and other researchers were asked to attend a conference to highlight her work to departments outside their own.

Her study will be showcased at a two-day event, Beyond Boundaries, at the university, which she said was an "exciting opportunity" to share her work.

"I'm very excited as this is a brilliant opportunity to present my work, something I don't usually get to practice," she said.

Rhinoceroses are poached for their horns

The research student is working on wildlife forensics and genetic fingerprinting, similar to human DNA techniques, in conjunction with the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

She said she chose the subject because the rhino was such a "charismatic" creature.

The conference has been organised as a way of attracting funds for academic research.

"Most post-graduate research is funded by funding councils, and people have a right to know where the money is going, we should communicate what we are doing," she explained.

Conference organiser Paul Butler said the students taking part would have a chance to describe their work to an audience which does not consist of specialists in their field.

"Clear communication of often complex ideas to the general public is extremely important to institutions, such as the university, whose continued existence is increasingly dependent upon the funding of academic research," he added.

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