Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge

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The Challenge Blog

Spotlight: Bosque Antiguo uses DNA tech to help tackle bird and amphibian trafficking

Bosque Antiguo uses DNA tech to help tackle bird and amphibian trafficking

Welcome to an installment of our Spotlight series, each highlighting one of our 16 Prize Winners working to combat wildlife crime around the globe. Find out about all 16 Prize Winners here, and check back in on Mondays for a new Spotlight post.

The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge sources innovative solutions to combat illegal wildlife trade that threatens communities, rule of law, and security, as well as iconic species of wildlife around the world. These crimes involve poaching for the pet trade, including protected scarlet and military macaws, as well as red-eye tree frogs.

Scarlet and military macaws are listed under CITES Appendix 1, which means that trade in these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances because they are highly endangered in the wild. These bright and beautiful birds have been targeted by poaching for the pet trade, though Mexican law has protected them by regulating capture in the wild since the 1970s, and banning capture altogether since 2008. Poaching harms more than just the birds; poachers may tear down or damage entire trees just to get to vulnerable military macaw nestlings, destroying the habitat for many species in the ecosystem.

Bosque Antiguo, a conservation non-profit in Mexico, is developing genetic profiling kits that will help create DNA databases detailing genetic profiles of these species. These databases will enable authorities to differentiate legally obtained animals from those illegally possessed. In addition, the databases will help prosecutors build cases against poachers and traffickers, and help identify the region of origin of confiscated specimens.

All of our Prize Winners, including Bosque Antiguo, are looking for partners, organizations, individuals, and funding agencies that can help them scale their solutions. If you would like more information about how you can help, please contact info@wildlifecrimetech.org. Find out about each of the Challenge’s 16 talented Prize Winners and their game-changing innovations to fight wildlife crime here.



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