749 RHINOS POACHED IN 2015 (as of September, 2015)

STRUCTURE

The Institute of Rhino Cryogenetics (IRC) was a registered as a Non-Profit Organisation with the Department of Social Development in South Africa (123-722 NPO) on 08 July 2013.

 

GOVERNANCE

The IRC is governed, according to its constitution, by an executive board:

Chairperson: Dr. Tanya Baber - Background in Immunoreproductive Biology. Previously PhD, Postdoc, Research Fellowship Darwin College, University of Cambridge. Currently Company Director and Chairperson of Waterberg Welfare Society, Vaalwater, South Africa.

Treasurer: Mary Stephenson - International Operations Director and Fund Raiser for Waterberg Welfare Society, Vaalwater, South Africa.

Board Member: Dr. Cindy Harper - Head of Veterinary Genetics at Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Heads up the rhODIS DNA forensic database.

Board Member: Hazel Tiffany - Partner of Group Partners , UK.

Associate Member: John Caswell - Founder and Partner of Group Partners, UK.

Advisors to the project:Dr. Richard Burroughs - Head of Wildlife Research, Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Dr. Monica Stoops - Reproductive Physiologist, Centre for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

The executive board and staff of the IRC are all volunteers

VISION
A genetically diverse and healthy population of both white (Ceratotherium simum simum) and black (Diceros bicornis) rhino in the wild in Southern Africa.
MISSION
To preserve the genetic diversity of both white and black rhino in Southern Africa, in the form of frozen gamete and tissue samples. Conduct research into the generation of viable progenitor stem cells from rhino skin fibroblasts, together with the production of viable gametes in vitro. Carry out assisted reproduction in the future from the frozen genetic pool, thereby reintroducing disparate genetics that would have otherwise been lost due to poaching.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES


Collect and store gametes cryogenically, from live white and black rhino

Collect and store skin tissue cryogenically, from live and / or dead white and black rhino


DNA profile all rhino tissue samples collected, to establish to establish a genetic variation and degree of polymorphism within rhino gene pool


Research the generation of pluripotent stem cells, and ultimately gametes, from fibroblast and germlie cells, collected from tissue of rhino


Maintain genetic diversity within wild and captive white and black rhino populations globally, by using genetically disparate stored gametes for assisted reproduction and / or embryo transfer into healthy adult rhino.


Advocacy and networking with DEA, PROA, Security companies involved in anti-poaching efforts