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Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge: The Uni. of Washington is using DNA tech to protect pangolins

The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge rewards science and tech innovations that fight wildlife crime. Congratulations to the University of Washington, one of the Challenge’s four Grand Prize Winners! They share a more than $900,000 Grand Prize to accelerate their exceptional innovation, a genetic analysis tool that will reveal where pangolins, some of the most trafficked mammals in the world, are being poached.

Original Source

Genetically Tracking the Illegal Pangolin Trade to Identify Poaching Hotspots

The University of Washington

Issue Area: Strengthen forensic evidence

The Problem: Over the last decade, more than one million pangolins have been taken from the wild. However, little is known about the populations being targeted or their numbers.

The Solution: Leveraging the power of DNA assignment, the University of Washington will identify the poaching hotspots that supply the bulk of the international pangolin trade. By developing genetic markers that can distinguish between pangolin populations, the University of Washington will create a global genetic reference map, filling in the map using geo-referenced tissue samples from museums and wild dung samples located by detection dogs. Using this map, the team can pinpoint the sources of large pangolin seizures, helping authorities focus on poaching hotspots and identify at-risk populations.

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