Genetic detectives identify three cartels smuggling African ivory


Genetic detective work shows that three large criminal cartels dominate the illegal African ivory trade, which is slaughtering the continent’s elephants at an unsustainable rate.

An international team of scientists, working with law enforcement officials, published their findings in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday.

They say that genetic evidence will become an important weapon against poaching, which is killing an estimated 10 per cent of Africa’s 400,000 surviving elephants every year and yielding more than $1bn worth of ivory for sale, mainly on the black market in Asia.

“We reveal connections between what would otherwise be isolated ivory seizures — linking seizures not just to specific criminal networks . . . but to poaching and transport networks that funnel…

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