LAB REPORT 1
Assigning DNA to African Elephants
Africa is goingthrough a resurgence of illegitimate ivory trade, which places theelephant at renewed risk. In this regards, it is crucial to establishpolicies that regulate this trade in an effort to improve the abilityof verifying the geographic origin of the tasks. There are variousways of ascertaining the origin of elephants trafficked into illegalmarkets for a variety of uses. In this respect, it is critical tonote that one of the most feasible ways is taking the DNA ofelephants to identify their place of origin. Trade in wildlifeproducts such as whale meat, bush meat, and ivory has the ability ofdecimating species on a continent-wide scale. The consequencesassociated with elephant poaching are not easily detected until thedamage develops into uncollectable crisis. For example, elephantpoaching in the continent minimized the elephant populace from 1.3million to a mere 600,000 elephants between in the 1980s. These ledto the ban on ivory trade since the species became an endangeredspecies.
One of the ways ofidentifying the origin of elephants that have their ivory sold inillegal markets is the taking of DNA samples. In this respect, whenivory sold in the market tested for DNA, the results can be used toidentify the origin of the elephant. For instance, more than 85% ofthe seized originated from the Central African region with themajority coming from East Africa.
For conservationpurposes, it is important to protect the elephant environment inaffected areas. In this respect, the most viable means of protectingthe elephant is ensuring that poachers are identified and trackeddown so that they can face justice. Use of DNA is critical insuringthat poachers are tracked and their activities brought to an end.
The researchanalysis suggests that there are two species of African elephants:forest and savanna. However, it has been observed that there ishybridization between the two species. This hybridization influencedthe development method used in tracking the ivory samples. In thisrespect, there was the introduction of likelihood ratio, which wasimportant for assessing the samples determining if an ivory wasderived from a savanna or forest offspring. The results suggestedthat most of the elephants whose ivory was sold in the illegal marketwere from East Africa, which explains the diminishing population ofelephants.
It is important tonote that Savanna elephants presented a challenge to the researchbecause they could not be assigned their specific sampling location.In this respect, the research had to take into account for wronglyassigned population to cater for the near actual location. This ledto the discovery of some unique locations inclusion Etosha, Mashatu,and Kruger where elephants had been killed for their ivory. Theresearch also documented the fact that Kruger had an influx ofelephants migrating from Mozambique.
The interviewconcluded with the finding that it is necessary to introduce policiesthat will improve wildlife conservation and management. It issignificant for local governments in the affected jurisdictions tosanction wildlife warders to handle the poaching issue. Data derivedfrom the research suggests that most of the ivory sold in illegalmarkets is from Africa. However, due to the political instability inthe countries, there have been little political goodwill to handlethe poaching issues in respective countries. The research used theSCAT software to acquire DNA to ensure its credibility. The use ofSCAT also facilitated the correction of DNA samples over large areasin a timely manner. The efficiency of the research methods used inthis research method determines that there is a need to introducepolicies that are designed to ensure that endangered species areprotected by the existing laws.
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