Archive for Customs

The new secret weapon in the anti-poaching war: DNA Barcoding

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Researchers at the American Museum of Natural History in New York have discovered what they term the “Barcode of Life” which is a genetic sequence that is specific to each individual species. By analyzing this “Barcode of Life,” they can determine if the skin is from an endangered animal or one that’s allowed to be hunted.

George Amato, an evolutionary biologist who helps oversee the DNA library, inspects a crocodile skin briefcase. Even after the skin has been processed, the bumps contain bits of bone the lab uses to extract DNA.

Julie Feinstein, collection manager of frozen tissue lab at AMNH, removes a rack of samples from one of the liquid nitrogen-cooled storage vats. She’s wearing special gloves so that, as she puts it, she doesn’t stay attached to the vat.

This system enables customs agents, and other regulatory agencies, to send samples of seized products to the lab in order to have them tested to see whether the produces has a from an endangered species or not.    The Museum has over 70,000 samples and growing,  there is a “constant influx” of samples so the number constantly grow.

Leather products found at a crafts market in Brazzaville, Congo. They may have originated from Mali, as similar products were found in the shop of Malian leather workers who illegally ship in Nile crocodile and other skins to Congo.

Click here to read more  about “The Barcode Of Life” for the full article

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Update on Thailand’s Largest Ivory Bust….I was not Shocked… but I Grieved….Interview with Thailand’s Director of Clearance Customs Bureau

Posted in Africa: Elephants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by kendickjerkins

“Was I shocked? No. But I grieved for the grisly fate of those elephants,” says Tanat Suvattanametakul.

Last week we made a posting about the largest Ivory seizure in Thailand to date. This is an update to that article interviewing Tanat Suvattanametakul, director of the Clearance Customs Bureau at Suvarnabhumi airport where the Ivory was found. Tanat, during the interview expresses his feelings about the seizure and first discovering it.  He goes in to depth explaining how poachers and crime syndicates are going to great lengths to get perfectly matched tusks, so that they are worth more on the market. The article also explains the value of the ivory that was seized and even how many elephants were killed for that particular shipment.  Furthermore, the interview explains how smugglers are beginning to take more complicated shipping routes in hopes of fooling authorities.

To Read the Full Article and Interview…Click Here

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