A three year wildlife forensics project has seen international scientists come to Edinburgh for three weeks of intensive training.
Four scientists from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are currently working and learning with Dr Rob Ogden and Dr Ross McEwing at the WildGenes Laboratory of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, based at Edinburgh Zoo. The visiting scientists are part of a co-ordinated network, called the ASEAN * Wildlife Forensics Network, which links wildlife forensic specialists across South-East Asia and seeks to introduce and advance DNA testing as a significant weapon in the fight against animal trafficking.
Funded by the Darwin Initiative**, which aims to support conservation in countries that are financial poor but rich in biodiversity, the project is managed by TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network and partnered by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).
Increasingly traded for meat as well as Traditional Medicines, tracking the illegal trade in tigers is a high priority. Using parallel techniques to human DNA profiling, the international project is developing a profiling system that can identify individual tigers in South East Asia. This will mean that when meat, parts and even whole tiger seizures are made across South East Asia, experts can identify where they have come from – either zoos selling illegally or wild animals being poached – with the aim of stopping and prosecuting those involved.
Please visit http://www.asean-wfn.org/ for further information.
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