DNA database to prevent black market sales of Australian species

CANBERRA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Australian wildlife will be DNA tracked in an attempt to prevent the trafficking of exotic animals.

Photo taken on Dec. 6, 2020 shows a female Koala in health check in Melbourne, Australia. (Zoos Victoria/Handout via Xinhua)

Sussan Ley, the Minister for the Environment, on Monday announced that the government would adopt the recommendations of a review of export permits for normative species conducted by KPMG.

The review found that endangered species such as the Glossy Black Cockatoo and Purple-Crowned Lorikeet have been exported for sale on the black market.

It recommended that the government establish a DNA databank of the genetic lineage of every animal imported and exported from Australia, allowing authorities to better track the animals and crackdown on trafficking.

"The growing involvement of organized crime in the trade, sophisticated international trading operations and the soaring value of Australian wildlife on black markets, some of which can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, underline the need to send the strongest possible deterrent," Ley said.

"It is important that we are setting the highest possible benchmarks in the regulation of wildlife trade."

According to the KPMG report hundreds of endangered parrots were exported to the Berlin-based Association for the Conservation for Threatened Parrots (ACTP).

It was later found that the ACTP was run by Martin Guth, a convicted fraudster, who was selling birds for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The DNA databank will begin with birds before being expanded to include all native animals.