Elephant DNA Map to Help Fight Poachers

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Using elephant dung and skin samples, researchers said they were able to make a map of elephant DNA that could help track down ivory poachers. They are using their new method to track smuggled ivory seized in Singapore in 2002, the researchers from the United States and Tanzania reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

By tracking DNA and monitoring the movement of ivory through ivory markets, researchers will be able to tell where poaching is most heavily concentrated and aid law enforcement in stopping it, they said. For instance, the Singapore seizure was tracked to Zambia, and the team hopes to pinpoint precisely where in Zambia the elephants were poached.