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Thursday, 1 November 2018

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) showcased their new fingerprint testing kits, designed to lift fingerprints from ivory, which can be used to fight the illegal wildlife 
IFAW & Parveen Hassan Conservative Conference 

At the Conservative party conference, I had the opportunity to test the kit, developed by the Metropolitan Police and King’s College London, the innovative technique can reveal prints up to 28 days after poachers have touched the ivory, compared to the two or three days with current conventional powders. 

This will significantly increase the chances of identifying the criminals behind the illegal ivory trade. The creative technology will be used by law enforcement agencies around the world to test illegally traded wildlife products for fingerprints and bring criminals to justice. After taking the test, I listened to the organisers explain how the Foreign Office has been working with IFAW to build links with priority countries and to share training and expertise with local law enforcement officers and rangers.

The illegal wildlife trade is a serious organised crime with revenues worth up to £17bn a year, more than the combined income of the Central African Republic, Liberia and Burundi. Around 20,000 African elephants are killed by poachers each year. Savanna elephant numbers have declined by a third from 2007 to 2014 and over 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa last year alone. Wildlife in many parts of Africa is at crisis levels.

The kits donated by IFAW were also distributed to countries at the London Illegal Wildlife
Trade Conference held in October 2018 where Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith was also announced as Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference champion. IFAW continue to raise awareness and the potential impact the creative finger printing testing kits can assist to reduce illegal wildlife trade.


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