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Update of the Rhisotope project: Launch of an aquaponics unit in Eastern Cape

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Update of the Rhisotope project: Launch of an aquaponics unit in Eastern Cape

Aquaponics is the most innovative agricultural method of the new century

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 18, 2021 / APO Group / –

Following the success of Phase 1 of the Rhisotope project, the next exciting aspect, the community outreach initiative, is underway. On November 16, a large-scale aquaponics unit, located in Paterson, was launched.

Scientifically, phase 1 of the Rhisotope project demonstrated that radioisotopes deposited in the rhino’s horn remain in the horn and do not return to the animal. This demonstrates that the project will be safe for animals, marking a very important milestone for the project. Phase 2 of the innovative project is expected to start in January 2022.

“The Rhisotope project has reached the first important milestone in being able to demonstrate to the regulator, the university animal ethics committee and rhino welfare stakeholders that it is completely safe for animals.” said Dr James Larkin, director of the Radiation and Health Physics Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand and the founder of the Project.

However, making scientific discoveries that can solve a problem and save the species is only part of the deal. Another important job is to engage with locals to help raise awareness of the issue. It is common knowledge that no species can be protected if local communities and stakeholders do not play an active role in this process.

Therefore, within the framework of the Rhisotope project, a community outreach program is vital. The founding sponsor of the Rhisotope project, Rosatom, the aquaponics unit, as well as the training program, are implemented by La Pieus, a leading installer in aquaponics in schools, community projects and sites across Africa. LPA CEO is 18-year-old environmental activist Rikalize Reinecke, who started her own aquaculture and aquaponics farm in 2014.

“Aquaponics is the most innovative agricultural method of the new century. This system gives you the ability to process the food in your garden and generate income. One system can sustainably feed a family of four to six people, ”Ms. Reinecke said.

An aquaponics unit will be run by local volunteers in collaboration with the Amakhala Foundation. All proceeds will be used to feed volunteer families, provide healthy and nutritious vegetables to a local soup kitchen and orphanage, and sell fresh produce to local lodges. The program will also help create and encourage entrepreneurial and business development opportunities for volunteers.

In addition, local school children will also benefit from the project. Benefits will take the form of presentations on the Rhisotope Project and the importance of rhinos in their daily lives. The informative conferences will be enriched and completed by the provision of teaching materials to learners.

Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, a regional office of the Russian state energy company, is the key partner in the project. Its CEO, Ryan Collyer, is convinced that this aquaponics unit will make a big difference in the daily life of this community. Mr. Collyer also stressed that the development of aquaponics is the key to long-term food security. According to him, the principle of aquaponics is based on the concept of sustainable development and environmental responsibility, which is in line with Rosatom’s corporate values.

About the Rhisotope project:

The Rhino Project is an initiative between WITS University, the world’s top nuclear scientists, researchers, South African rhino owners and the world’s top wildlife vets to dramatically reduce rhino poaching. In short, by placing radioactive material in rhino horn, we are creating an effective tool for demand reduction and rhino protection. It is a giant leap in the protection of this endangered species. If the appetite for horn decreases, so does poaching, the two challenges are not mutually exclusive and are inextricably linked.

The goal of the project is to create a sustainable and efficient way to significantly reduce the number of rhinos poached and killed for their horns. These animals need us more than you think. Through this project, Rhino Project will provide an effective tool in the rhino protection toolbox, innovation and the ability to evolve as the landscape changes is key.

With the international nuclear and radiological expertise brought by Rosatom to this project, it will make a significant contribution to the safeguard and protection of rhinos by reducing the desire for rhino horn, both by poachers and the end user, through the efficient use of currently available radioactive technologies. . This will allow anti-poaching teams to be more effective and help international and South African law enforcement agencies track and trace rhino horn trafficking channels using security capabilities. nuclear power at airports and ports. The smuggled rhino horn is not an industry in itself, it has become another lucrative “commodity” enjoyed by the biggest crime syndicates. Even though the trade in rhino horn is illegal and internationally prohibited, there are many countries that promote the illegal sale of horn, countries like Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Croatia and North Korea for to name a few.

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