Illegal wildlife trade is a great threat to the conservation efforts made worldwide to save wildlife species and their parts. Use of molecular methods, including DNA barcoding, is gaining acceptance to detect cross-border movement of endangered species. Here we report the utility of DNA barcoding in the detection of smuggling of an endangered turtle species from Pakistan. The consignment labeled as “fish meat” was intercepted at a Pakistani port and was tested for its source using DNA Barcoding with fish-specific primers. Sequences from the samples from this consignment matched (99%) with those from Lissemys punctata (Indian flap-shelled turtle), a species listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This report highlights the problem of smuggling protected species under false pretenses and the importance of DNA barcoding in stopping such illegal trade.
Raja, N. A.,
& Mahar, J.
Use of DNA Barcoding to Control the Illegal Wildlife Trade: A CITES Case Report from Pakistan,
Journal of Bioresource Management, 2