Genetic identification of illegal trade in the Cape parrot (Poicephalus robustus robustus) and blue crane (Grus paradisea)

Building Genetic Forensic Capacity to Reduce South Africa´s Illegal Trade

The purpose of this project is to assist the conservation of wildlife in South Africa through institutional capacity building for wildlife forensic DNA analysis (fingerprinting and species identity). The project will initially concentrate on two species currently threatened by illegal trade (Cape parrot and blue crane). Kerry and Kate (South African MSc students) will be trained at Sheffield to develop and characterise a microsatellite marker set, genotype individuals and perform paternity analyses for forensic use. This knowledge will be transfered to a forensic facility in South Africa. Staff and the students will be trained in the techniques required in genetic forensic analysis, chain of evidence, producing forensic profiles, analysis and writing evidence statements for the authorities. Procedures will be drawn up in collaboration with appropriate authorities in South Africa (with the assistance of UK expertise) to provide protocols and guidelines. The presence of such a high profile technique will raise awareness of the illegal trade and, as seen elsewhere (United Kingdom and Australia), should prove a deterrent, reducing such activities.

Personnel

  • Kate Meares (2005-07)
  • Kerry Pillay (2005-07)

Principal Investigator

Professor Terry Burke

email : t.a.burke@sheffield.ac.uk

Co-Investigators

Professor Mike Perrin (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, Perrin@ukzn.ac.za)
Dr Tiawanna Taylor (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, TaylorT@ukan.ac.za)

Collaborators

Dr Deborah Dawson (d.a.dawson@sheffield.ac.uk)

Technical assistance provided by

Dr Gavin Horsburgh (University of Sheffield)
Andy Krupa (University of Sheffield)

Databases

Primer stocks held at the University of Sheffield (and other associated references):

Parrot primer stocks

Crane primer stocks

Links

Please "See also" for links to the following organisations:
TRAFFIC
CITES
Cape Parrot Working Group
Birdlife South Africa
Cape Parrot Working Group (CPWG)
South African Crane Working Group

This project is funded by the Darwin Initiative and DEFRA (Department for Environment and Rural Affairs)

   

Publications

Meares K, Dawson DA, Horsburgh GJ, Glenn TC, Jones KL, Braun MJ, Perrin MR, Taylor TD (2009) Microsatellite loci characterized in three African crane species (Gruidae, AVES). Molecular Ecology Resources. 9 308-311.

Meares K, Dawson DA, Horsburgh GJ, Perrin MR, Burke T, Taylor TD (2008) Characterisation of 14 blue crane Grus paradisea (Gruidae, AVES) microsatellite loci for use in detecting illegal trade. Conservation Genetics. 9, 1363-1367.

Meares K, Dawson DA, Horsburgh GJ, Perrin MR, Burke T, Taylor TD (2008) Characterisation of 14 blue crane Grus paradisea (Gruidae, AVES) microsatellite
loci for use in detecting illegal trade. Conservation Genetics. Erratum.

Meares K, Dawson DA, Frantz A, Perrin MR, Burke T, Taylor TD (in prep) Population structure in the blue crane Grus paradisea (Gruidae, AVES).

Meares KM (2007) Characterising microsatellite loci in the blue crane (Grus paradisea). MSc dissertation, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Pillay K, Dawson DA, Horsburgh GJ, Perrin MR, Burke T, Taylor TD (2009) Twenty-two polymorphic microsatellite loci aimed at detecting illegal trade in the Cape parrot Poicephalus robustus (Psittacidae, AVES). Molecular Ecology Resources. In press.

Pillay K. (due 2009) MSc dissertation (School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) Characterising microsatellite loci in the cape parrot (Poicephalus robustus robustus).

Collen T. Downs and J. Olaf Wirminghaus kindly provided the images for this webpage.