DNA technology helps catch poachers
Looking into DNA records for ivory seizures, scientists can track down their poachers.
Ivory is smuggled under many different ruses. It may be covered in coffee, wood, or even plastic waste.
Now, DNA tests can be done on the ivory to determine where and who were the ones who poached the elephant. This, so far, has stopped more than 4,000 tusks from being transported and aided in over 49 seizures.
The evidence is part of a large web of the history of smuggling ivory.
This technology allows some of the most impactful organizations to collaborate and create a larger web of history for these ivory smugglers. One seizure may help uncover a series of poaching and smuggling.
An analysis of this technology has been released detailing the important aspects and features of this program.
According to National Public Radio (NPR), “The analysis was co-authored by Special Agent John Brown III of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who said the DNA evidence could also help governments collaborate to prosecute these crimes.”
How does it work?
According to Science Daily, “Historically, the tiny amounts of DNA contained in tusks has made tracking the origins of ivory goods very difficult — and why much of the poached ivory is shipped to Asia and swiftly broken down into tiny pieces, primarily for jewelry and trinkets that can be easily resold and does not allow easy or accurate DNA tracing.”
Now, the degradation and amount of DNA do not matter– the tests can be run on very small and old pieces.
Out of the 304 samples tested, there was a 100% accuracy rating.
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