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Science Bulletins: CT Scans Help Poached Rhinos

South Africa is home to more than 80 percent of Africa's remaining rhinoceroses, most of which live in national parks and reserves. But even in these protected areas, hundreds of rhinos are killed each year by poachers responding to a skyrocketing demand for rhino horn, which is used in Asian traditional medicine. Often, poachers sever the horns while the animals are still alive. Poachers attacked three rhinos at the Kariega Game Reserve in March 2012. One rhino died of his injuries shortly after. The two surviving rhinos suffered serious damage to their sinus cavities where the horns were removed. A veterinarian working with the reserve contacted WitmerLab at Ohio University, where researchers use high-tech imaging and digital modeling to study the morphology of vertebrate heads. The researchers scanned a 120-kilogram white rhino head from their storage facility and used the images to create a detailed model of the nasal passages of an adult white rhino, which helped the reserve treat the severely injured animals.This latest Bio Bulletin from the American Museum of Natural History's Science Bulletins program is on display in the Hall of Biodiversity until July 6, 2012. Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at LinksWitmerLab at Ohio University Kariega Game Reserve: Save the Rhino South Africa National Parks: Statistics for Poaching OU professor, students answer call for help from South Africa IUCN Red List of Threatened Species -- Ceratotherium simum World Wildlife Foundation: African Rhino Poaching Crisis
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