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article imageTiger skins are 'like fingerprints'

By Tim Sandle     Jul 26, 2014 in Environment
Individual tigers can be identified through the stripes and patterns on their skin. Each pattern is unique to individual tigers. A collaboration of world governments aim to use this information to track poaching across the globe.
The member nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) recently met in Geneva. The group discussed a broad range of issues related to wildlife trade including finding ways to track down the people responsible for killing and initially smuggling tigers.
The conclusion of the meeting is captured in the report: Working Group on Asian Big Cats. In the report the 180 member nations are now encouraged "to share images of seized tiger skins with range States with photographic identification databases so as to assist in the identification of the origin of the illegal specimen."
Commenting on this move, Shruti Suresh, wildlife campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency in England, who attended the CITES meeting, said to LabRoots:
"This is really important. ndia really wanted to see this happen. They have a database of thousands of photographs of wild tigers, mostly taken through camera trapping. If a skin is seized in China or Vietnam and they share that picture of that skin with India, for example, it could potentially map out where the skin came from and how it got there."
With this type of information, law enforcement officials would find themselves one step closer to finding out who killed the tiger in the first place. It will, however, take some time for this international database to be created or for CITES nations to start sharing photos of seized skins, but a special working group has been set up to implement the recommendations over the course of the next year.
More about Tigers, tigers skins, Fingerprints, Poachers
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