Conservationists are using a slew of new gadgets to protect Indonesia's wildlife (Source: https://phys.org)
 
Jakarta (VNA) – Non-governmental organisations (NGO) on animal protection in Indonesia are applying high technology to combat trafficking of rare and endangered species.

The NGOs use smartphone applications capable of mapping the routes of traffickers of species protected by DNA-based barcodes.

Fauna and flora in Indonesia’s tropical forests, whose biodiversity is one of the richest in the world, are threatened by the lucrative trade of animals such as orangutans and pangolins.

Technology is probably one of the most important resources to help arrest traffickers, said Matthew Pritchett, a member of an NGO which fights against animal smuggling.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has used computer software to establish traffickers’ routes and extract data from electronic devices seized from suspects.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Animal Rescue Centre (IAR) is examining evidence using DNA-based barcodes to identify species.

“If we have animals whose origin is known and animals found for example in Jakarta, we can compare genetic samples,” said Christine Rattel, advisor to the IAR programme, adding “We can then trace the hunting areas and determine the routes used for the illegal trade.”

The information generated by the NGOs’ application — which contains some 700 species and 2,000 photos — has already allowed authorities in Indonesia and Thailand to investigate trafficking networks.

But despite the efforts of conservationists and the help of high technology, the battle remains difficult. Inadequate laws, lack of staff to implement legislation, and infrequent prosecutions remain the main challenges. In addition, they lack the means and scientific knowledge relating to the field.-VNA