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Forensic Experts Train International Scientists in Tiger CSI Techniques
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 www.asean-wfn.org for further information.
*The Association of Southeast Asian Nations
- Currently based at Edinburgh Zoo, TRACE is an international NGO that develops and promotes forensic analysis techniques in wildlife law enforcement
- The WildGenes Laboratory at RZSS applies DNA analysis to wildlife conservation. It is hosting the visiting scientists during their three week training course.
- The Darwin Initiative is funded by the UK government (Defra)
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