Center for Conservation Biology
We collaborate with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FVM) at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania in the development of molecular and hormone laboratories as part of their Wildlife Medicine Program. Participation of this lab in Center projects is described in the two elephant projects in this document.
One outcome of this effort has been the development of DNA methods by our Tanzanian colleagues to identify bushmeat sold illegally as domestic beef and pork to hotels in Tanzania and other East African countries. ( Malisa , AL , P Gwakisa, S Balthazary, SK Wasser , NM Mutayoba. 2006. The potential of mitochondrial DNA markers and polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism for domestic and wild species identification. African Journal of Biotechnology 5: 1599-1593.)
Our Center is also working with the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) to employ DNA methods in their attack on wildlife crime throughout Africa. LATF is an international law enforcement unit comprised of African nationals from several countries. Their principle mission is to combat wildlife crime across international borders in Africa. Our collaborations with LATF have already produced important results in the fight against wildlife crime. This has enhanced LATF credibility in the international community and encouraged wildlife managers throughout Africa to incorporate DNA analysis in their fight against the rapidly growing illegal wildlife trade.
We are involved in similar capacity building problems in Brazil, where we are working to share our scat dog methodology with Brazilians for use in several South American habitats. We are collaborating with Conservation International’s Brazil program, Fauna and Flora-International and the government entity, CENAP, to build detection dog kennels in Brazil.
As part of our oil sands monitoring program in NE Alberta, we train members of the Chipewyan-Prairie Denne First Nation in wildlife monitoring techniques using dogs. Tribal members are also being educated about our program through extensive outreach initiatives. A similar program is underway in Arizona where we trained six members of the Apache First Nation as dog handlers on a study of Mexican wolves. We also collaborate with the Hoopa tribe in northern California, using dogs to monitor Pacific fisher on their lands.