As with any resource found in war thorn countries African Ivory is traded illegally, and sometimes this trade makes money for terrorist and militant warlords. Now thanks to DNA testing illegal ivory can be traced to the origin area and efforts can be focus on stopping the trade at the source.
Only 30 percent of the entire tonnage of illegal ivory ever reaches the black market with 70 percent being seized at different points along the way by authorities.
A team of scientist has collected samples of hair, tissue and dung from elephants from across the African continent, and were able to identify the spots were responsible for most of the elephant poaching and resulting seized ivory.
They cross-referenced the DNA collected from 28 major seizes made between 1996 and 2014 with a gene map of elephant habitats.
Using the traced locations, scientists believe that an authorities crackdown on the respective areas would drastically decrease the number of elephants killed by poaching annually.
The total population of African Elephants is around 470.000 , with about 50.000 being annually slaughtered by poachers every year.
The majority of illegal ivory trade takes place in Africa, but using new methods local police and worldwide organizations can crackdown on traffickers and finally put an end to the slaughter of endangered elephants.
While poaching is a continental problem in Africa, the areas where most of the criminal activity happens could be detected and security reinforced if DNA testing will be implemented in every case of captured ivory.
Using genetic research, every elephant habitat can be mapped and genetically traced by collecting samples from local animals.
Once the mapping is done every case of captured ivory can be traced to its original source and local security measures from local and international authorities can be strengthened.
Ivory cannot be collected and sold without some level of local corruption especially between state borders, since most African states have check points where they inspect for ivory in particular.
Identifying the source could help retrace the route between the point where the illegal resource was seized and the origin. Thus problem checkpoints and border stops can be determined and Ivory poaching can be more efficiently fought against.
Image Source: focusingonwildlife.com