DNA Profile of Wildlife in WA on 7:30 Report

To: Birding-Aus Aus <>
Subject: DNA Profile of Wildlife in WA on 7:30 Report
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2010 20:33:41 +1100
Dear All,

On The 7:30 Report this evening, there was a very interesting item on a strategy to obtain the DNA profile of as many species of WA wildlife as possible as a means to differentiate between wild and captive bred species, as a means to combat wildlife smuggling. The technique is being further refined so as to be able to give the location from where the animals came from.

The strategy was originally started as part of an initiative to prevent illegal capture and smuggling of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo. The profiling has been extended to mammals and reptiles. For reptiles they have developed a mouth swab technique. I wonder if they drew straws to take the swabs from the likes of Dugites or King Browns.

The major part of the item was to do with the Canaby's and the problems with nest robbing, which is a real problem due to the high prices Carnabys bring in the exotic bird trade OS. This highlights the importance of not giving the location of nesting birds on B-Aus and other birding sites succh as Bird_o and the various birdlines, as you can be pretty sure that smugglers watch those sites. The WA wildlife people on the program strongly made the point that wildlife smugglers have become very sophisticated and frequently associated with organised crime.

On the bright side, every prosecution that the WA wildlife authorities have mounted, based on DNA evidence has been successful, with the offenders invariably putting their hands up when they discover that the prosecution was DNA based.

Perhaps we should paraphrase the old war time slogan to "Loose lips sink species.


Carl Clifford

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