Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

International cooperation to improve frontline wildlife forensics, using the illegal rhino horn trade as a case study. (#269)

Greta J Frankham 1 , Kyle Ewart 1 , Ross McEwing 2 , Rebecca Johnson 1
  1. Australian Museum Research Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network, Edinburgh, Scotland , United Kingdom

Wildlife crime is a trans-national business worth upwards of USD 23 billion dollars a year. The primary demand for many of these wildlife products comes from Asian countries such as Vietnam and China for use in traditional medicines or as trophies seen as symbols of status and wealth. Appropriate action by law enforcement and successful prosecution is often hindered in these countries by the lack of appropriate forensic infrastructure, preventing comprehensive intelligence collection. While the magnitude of trade in Australia is relatively lower than some of its neighbouring Asian countries. Australia does have established and accredited wildlife forensics facilities and the resources to provide both efficient forensic case work, as well as research, development and validation of new testing schemes. Given the common nature of many of the trade items that wildlife forensic labs across the globe are asked to identify (i.e. rhino horn, elephant ivory etc), laboratories like ours, The Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics (ACWG) at the Australian Museum Research Institute, Sydney Australia, are well positioned to provide capacity building and training opportunities throughout the region. This talk will outline joint projects by the ACWG, civil society organisations such as TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network and TRAFFIC and participating European and Asian wildlife forensic laboratories to develop and implement improved and standardised testing across the globe, using the illegal rhino horn trade and the development of appropriate forensic tools as a case study.