Hi-tech war on poaching

27 September 2016 - 08:53 By GRAEME HOSKEN

The war against wildlife criminals will be fought not only through the barrel of a gun but also with science, forensic audits and a DNA database. That was the message yesterday on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), in Johannesburg.Anti-poaching, law enforcement and wildlife protection agencies are racing to end these crimes, which earn criminals an estimated $20-billion a year.Ben Janse van Rensburg, chief of enforcement support in Cites' regulatory services division, told The Times "force had to be met with force".Some of the measures being explored are the establishment of specialised wildlife crime detection and intelligence units, training programmes, data-sharing and creating databases listing poaching, illegal logging and the theft of endangered plants.Jorge Rios, chief of the UN's global programme for combating wildlife and forest crime, said: "We need to get smart. We need to use science and take advantage of DNA technology to help build the capacity of law enforcement officers and the judiciary."..

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