Proceedings of the dna barcording to combat wildlife crime workshop held at Arusha Institute of Accountancy, Arusha 19 th May 2016.

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Poaching for both meat and trophy has always been a major challenge in conservation history. Illegal trade in wildlife and its products affect the survival of magnitude number of species. The population of rhinos and elephants for instance has declined in recent years as a result of escalation in organized trade in their products. This has necessitated many states to take active measures to protect their biodiversity in recent years.However, wildlife criminals (poachers and traffickers) continue to develop new ways to circumvent detection and prosecution. Crime investigators on the other hand fail to hold these criminals responsible with confidence due to lack of reliable forensic tools admissible in courts of law. The prosecutors try to prove that the suspects have committed crimes on wildlife but fail because criminals tried to remove overtindicative morphological features specific to poached animals. Over the recent years, this illegal wildlife poaching has turned into being a highly profitable business worldwide with remarkably low risks as trials of illegal wildlife traffickers are rare, largely because law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judicial systems typically consider such crime a low priority. Large volumes of wildlife including those already at risk are being illegally poached and traded and if this trend is unabated it threatens future survival of some key species in East Africa region and beyond. To overt these challenges scientists are racing in arms to develop highly sensitive, accurate and high throughput DNA based techniques to mitigate these challenges. One of the leading examples of this development is the institution of a standardized global DNA- based barcode identification system which provides a simple, universal tool for the identification of wildlife species and their products.DNA barcoding has now become an accepted and commonly used method for species identification practiced by taxonomists, ecologists, forensic scientists and other researchers. A Google-supported Barcode of Wildlife Project (BWP) hosted by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington,successively initiated these initiatives in Kenya since 2012. Recently, BWP as expanded these training and technical assistance to new participants in Tanzania through the recently funded USAID-PEER project since 2015. The new participating institutions are Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and Tanzania Wildlife Institute (TAWIRI)


DNA Barcoding to combat Wildlife Crime Workshop May, 2016


DNA barcording combat, Wildlife crime, Arusha