Archive for DNA

Live from the Congo: Poachers, Smoked Monkey Head, and Trapped Parrots, But No Elephants in Sight

Posted in Live From the Congo: Elephant Ivory Project, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2011 by Dori G

There was a shootout.  Andy and I weren’t there, but we learned through satellite text messages that Colonel Gui and his soldiers from the Congolese army ran into the bandits somewhere between Kisangani and Obenge—likely the brothers of Colonel Toms, a convicted war criminal and poacher. A gunfight ensued. One poacher was injured and two others were apprehended. Colonel Gui, with his prisoners in tow, is still coming to Obenge to route out poachers in the region.  We should see them tomorrow.

I got the news during a four-day sampling hike through TL2 with Andy and the scientist John Hart [http://www.bonoboincongo.com]. But let me back up. After Kisangani, which is where I last blogged, we flew to Kindu, a town on the border of the 25,000 square mile jungle known as TL2. It’s the region Elephant Ivory Project-lead Samuel Wasser [http://depts.washington.edu/conserv/Director.html] wants elephant dung samples from most (read the previous posts to understand why). From Kindu, the three of us spent two days on the back of motorbikes, riding dirt paths notched into the jungle and savannah. These paths are arteries out of the bush. We saw locals pushing bicycles loaded with everything from pineapples to bush meat in the form of monkeys and okapi, a striped cousin of the giraffe. At the Lomami River, we loaded into motorized pirogues for a supposed two-day trip north to Obenge, the Hart’s research camp in the northern part of the proposed Lomami National Park. John stopped at every riverside village—about a dozen–to explain what the national park meant for the locals.

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Live From the Congo: Elephant Ivory Project’s Journey to Stop Elephant Poaching Begins

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Live From the Congo: Elephant Ivory Project with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2011 by kyledickman

Equipment needed for expedition

Today, I’m packing. After two years in the works, we’re kicking off the Elephant Ivory Project in earnest on Sunday morning, when Andy Maser and I fly to Kinshasa–the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)–with a case of collection vials and the goal of saving a species.  Here’s the back story: Continue reading

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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