Seminar: Intelligence-led forensic science: Combatting the illegal ivory trade amidst a burgeoning world market

Major transnational organized crimes have increased dramatically in the past decade, coincident with increases in legal containerized cargo shipped worldwide. The illegal ivory trade is no exception. Sam Wasser will describe his use of genetic tools to identify the source of Africa’s major ivory poaching hotspots, as well as the number, scale and location of its major ivory export cartels. These tools are enabling law enforcement to target the illegal ivory trade before the contraband enters transit where it becomes far more difficult and expensive to trace.

Samuel Wasser holds the endowed chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, where he is a Professor in the Department of Biology and Director of the Center for Conservation Biology. His lab is world renown for pioneering highly accessible noninvasive genetic and physiological tools for monitoring human impacts on the environment over large spatial scales, including the use of detection dogs. His forensic work is best known for identifying the two major ivory poaching hotpots in Africa. This work involved collaboration with numerous national and international government organizations, including the CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, US Department of Homeland Security Investigations, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation and the World Bank.

All welcome to attend this seminar.