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Jakarta Post

Molecular tech helps fight wildlife crime

  • Adeline Seah and Stefan Prost

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 29 2018   /  01:51 am

Tigers, elephants, pangolins, sharks. Both iconic species and less charismatic ones like snakes and lizards are over-harvested and illegally traded for luxury consumption, traditional medicine, the pet trade and fashion.

The exponential growth of wildlife trade (both legal and illegal), when combined with climate change impacts, has intensified the pressures on the rich natural heritage of Indonesia. As a result, the nation has experienced growing challenges in managing terrestrial and marine wildlife.

Globally, illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is the fourth biggest illegal industry, only surpassed by drug trade, arms, and human trafficking. In one month alone, Operation Thunderstorm — an Interpol-led 92 country-wide crackdown on IWT in May 2018—resulted in almost 2,000 seizures worth millions of dollars, including 43 tons of “bush meat”, 4,000 birds, and 27,000 repti...