Wednesday, April 25, 2007

DNA fingerprinting of lions


Chennai Online


Ahmedabad, April 22: In an attempt to keep a close track of endangered Asiatic lions found only in Gujarat's Gir sanctuary, authorities have decided to maintain DNA profiles and fingerprints of the big cats.


This important measure is being taken after six lions were killed for their body parts in March within the sanctuary in Junagadh district of Saurashtra region, forest department officials said today.


"Forest rangers and forensic experts are busy collecting samples of the dead animals so that DNA profiling and fingerprinting can be done for the future," a senior forest department official said.


When any animal is found dead in the sanctuary it will be easier to determine if it is an Asiatic lion once a DNA profile and fingerprint database is created, the official explained.


It may also throw more light on poaching cases as investigating officials have not made any major breakthrough apart from arresting some labourers from Madhya Pradesh suspected to be part of a poaching gang. They are not the masterminds behind the killings, the official said.

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