Earthtrust’s Saving Whales With DNA Project is a cutting-edge strategy for ending the global black market in whale meat through the use of DNA analysis. DNA technology is currently revolutionizing many fields and it is poised to have a huge impact on the illegal trade in endangered and protected species of whales.
DNA analysis is the only practical way to verify if a product in the marketplace is a “legitimate” whale species (under IWC regulations) or if it is from a highly endangered species. This strategy may well be the only one that can truly assure a future for whales.
Despite international treaties, laws, and conventions to protect wildlife, there is also a huge and growing “hidden economy” of organized crime that directly hinders the effectiveness of these laws. Traditional conservation strategies have focused on visible laws, conventions, and treaties, however wildlife laws and treaties which do exist usually lack effective intelligence-gathering and enforcement provisions and are often simply ignored.
Thus we have a world with many types of protection “on the books” for wild species while the poaching and destruction of species goes on unabated. Unfortunately, this is becoming the rule rather than the exception.
Using the techniques demonstrated by Earthtrust, notably “in situ DNA amplification”, it is now possible to gather accurate field data anywhere in the world, and compare genetic sequences to find out just which animals are being killed.
As catalogs of DNA “type sequences” are built up, it becomes increasingly possible to trace back wildlife products to their species, area of origin, subspecies, sex, and even lineage. This is the single most powerful tool available to bring illegal trade to light and under control: even after an animal is killed and cut into tiny pieces, each piece can still tell the story of that animal’s existence.
Article Source: Earthtrust.org