Fighting Wildlife Smuggling With DNA Tests

blue parrotIn 2003, an infamous Portuguese leader of a wildlife trafficking gang was detained in a Brazilian airport with 58 bird eggs carefully strapped to his body. In an effort to resist arrest, the smuggler insisted the eggs were quail eggs, while authorities suspected they were parrot eggs bound for the exotic pet market. The eggs never hatched, and without a way to test the eggs or know who was right, the smuggler was released several days later.

Looking back years later after leaps and bounds in scientific advances, a biologist at the University of São Paulo reviewed the case and was able to connect the dots to reveal that 57 of the eggs were indeed wild parrot eggs and one was an owl. Although it was too late to prosecute the animal smuggler after so many years, the advent of DNA testing to police such a detrimental industry is remarkable – illegal animal trafficking costs Brazil an estimated $2 billion a year in addition to detrimental effects on exotic animal populations, and it can now be closely monitored with cold, hard science.

DNA: Stories Without Words

We have all heard of DNA testing closing indecipherable high profile criminal cases. Expanding the application of DNA testing to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves is all the more important. DNA firmly answers some of life’s most ambiguous questions. If you are seeking answers to some of those questions for yourself or a loved one, reach out to Choice DNA: we are here to confidentially offer closure and certainty through DNA testing. Call us today at 800-219-4362.