Kenya to establish wildlife DNA library to battle poaching (VIDEO)

NAIROBI, July 22 — It’s going to take 45 days to gather DNA samples from all of Kenya’s stockpile of elephant tusks and rhino horn.

The samples will be used to create a library of DNA profiles of its national elephant and rhino populations.

Kenya’s Environment Secretary is hoping that will nail poachers who last year were selling rhino horn on Asian city streets for a colossal US$65,000 (RM246,350) a kilo.

Kenyan environment secretary Judy Wakhungu said, “This DNA reference library to be created will be essential component in analysis of forensic evidence for use in prosecution of wildlife crime, not only in the country but also in the region.”

Kenya’s become a major transit route for ivory from central and east Africa destined for Asian markets.

The boss of Kenya’s Wildlife Services Board says the DNA library adds a new weapon to the authorities’ armoury.

“I think ivory trading or ivory acquisition through poaching in Kenya could quite quickly come down to a perfectly manageable level again.”

Kenya’s already introduced stiffer jail terms and fines and stepped up security at its national parks to stop poaching which threatens its vital tourism industry. — Reuters

A scientist uses a tablet to record data of elephant tusks recovered from various operations at the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) headquarters in Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 21, 2015. — Reuters pic
A scientist uses a tablet to record data of elephant tusks recovered from various operations at the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) headquarters in Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 21, 2015. — Reuters pic

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