ESSENTIAL FORENSICS

Poachers watch out!

Posted on | Posted in Blog

A new forensic laboratory has been opened by The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to assist the fight against poaching.

The laboratory is working to establish a DNA database which will link stolen ivory and meat to specific animals.

The information gleamed from this should help in prosecuting suspected poachers as cases can collapse because of weak evidence.

Samples will be taken from wild animals to extract DNA by a team of 45 researchers at the £1.2m laboratory in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

This data can then be used to provide conclusive evidence in court. It is alleged that prosecutors in the past have faced a problem verifying that meat found with a suspected poacher is from a protected species, poachers have been able to argue that it was goat or cattle meat.

Tests and comparisons can now be made in court on evidence, with the information in the database, to prove beyond doubt, what species it comes from. This information can also aid intelligence collation when establishing poachers locations.

It is hoped that more prosecutions will act as a deterrent to potential smugglers as the extent of poaching soars.

A kilogram of ivory is currently worth thousands of pounds which gives raise to fears of some species being chased into extinction. Stamp those poachers out!

Poachers

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