CSI for wildlife in Kenya one step closer

Kenya wants to start a forensics and molecular biology laboratory, to enhance studies in population genetics and reduce poaching activities by providing credible prosecutorial evidence in court. The plans for the ‘wildlife CSI’ have now received a major boost, following the promise of a renowed American Institute to provide for the money for equipment.

The Sackier Institute for Comparative Genomics of the American Museums of Natural History, wants to donate US$ 178.000 to set up the forensic laboratory. It will be a state-of-the-art facility and a regional referral centre for molecular diagnostics of wildlife-related crimes.

Dr. George Amato, the director of the Sackier Institute, also promises to support training, collaborative research and exchange programmes for the laboratory. Dr. Amato notes that Kenya and its Kenya Wildlife Service has made significant achievements in the last eight years and is proud to partner with it.

The Sackier Institute is a premier American research centre for wildlife conservation genetics, molecular ecology, wildlife forensics and small population biology. It also holds the world’s largest frozen tissue depository centre.

The head of the KWS, Mr Julius Kipng’etich, underscores the need for Kenya to be able to prove cases of bush meat trade. The laboratory will also be crucial in identifying contraband wildlife products at the airports and other ports of entry and trace their countries of origin.

When the laboratory will be realised at the KWS headquarter in Nairobi is not known yet, in spite of the donation. Kipng’etich is talking with other (western) organisations to achieve the promise of more funding.

This article is based on a press release by the Kenya Wildlife Services


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