Blog

Wildlife detectives

By: Deborah White, Michael Hugill, Category: At The Museum, Date: 22 May 2013

How does Australia protect its biodiversity from the illegal import of exotic species?

And how do we protect our endangered species from ill-treatment? Call on the Australian Museum’s wildlife forensic detectives.

Sometimes, products attempted to be imported to Australia raise alarm bells with agencies like Customs and Quarantine. This is because it is suspected that they may contain the DNA of exotic species that are prohibited in Australia. It’s amazing how importers will attempt to hide illegal ingredients in their product while simultaneously marketing them!

Other times, the content of fishing boats lead agencies such as Fisheries to confiscate illegal catches because it is suspected that endangered species are being harmed or killed. It’s sad to see how some commercial fishermen will boldly ignore laws to feed the market for delicacies such as shark fin soup.

Dr Rebecca Johnson, head of the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics at the Australian Museum, talks about two cases her team has been involved in to help prosecute perpetrators of wildlife crime.

This video is part of our Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.