DNA analysis of elephant ivory reveals trafficking networks

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 6:15 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (AP) - A new study suggests that as few as three major criminal groups are responsible for smuggling the vast majority of elephant ivory tusks out of Africa.

Researchers used analysis of DNA from seized elephant tusks and evidence such as phone records, license plates, financial records and shipping documents to map trafficking operations across the continent and better understand who was behind the crimes.

The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

Each year, an estimated 1.1 million pounds of poached elephant tusks are shipped from Africa, mostly to Asia.

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