Thursday, November 24, 2016

Illegal export of ivory

Some of the Canadian readers of this blog might have come across the following press article a few days ago: 

An Ontario company and its director have been fined $12,500 and sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to unlawfully exporting python skin and elephant ivory. Environment Canada says it began its investigation into 888 Auctions three years ago with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency says it found that on one occasion, the company mailed a small elephant ivory tusk and an ivory carving to the U.S. falsely labelled as a gift ornament. The pieces were later determined to be from the African forest elephant. Another time, the agency says 888 Auctions sent a leather case made from python skin to the U.S. Both exports were made without the necessary permits.

You might have guessed that this has something to do with DNA barcoding. Actually, the conviction was successful in part due to DNA barcoding analysis of the elephant ivory tusk mentioned in the article. This was done in our lab here at CBG.

This might not exactly big scientific news but I always like to point out cases were DNA barcoding has made a difference and here it helped to sentence people that deal with illegal wildlife products. Unfortunately, it happens not often enough but every time it does there is hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment