Cold war history helps against ivory smuggling


This video is called Elephants – Spy In The Herd.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Ivory boast

Sunday 03 January 2010

Forensic experts have developed an unusual way of dating elephant tusks in a bid to stop the illegal ivory trade.

Only the sale of antique ivory from before 1947 is permitted in the EU, but there is no accurate method of identifying it from modern ivory.

Now a scientist at Edinburgh Zoo has come up with the test which, it could be said, owes its success to the cold war.

The 1950s saw widespread nuclear weapons testing, which caused a rise in the levels of a certain chemical in the atmosphere.

The amount of a carbon isotope known as carbon-14 doubled by 1965 and can be found in the bones and tusks of animals.

If an ivory sample displays a high level of carbon-14, then it proves it came from an animal alive after the introduction of nuclear testing in the ’50s and is therefore being sold illegally.

Forensic zoologist Ross McEwing has received funding from the government to develop the test, which will be rolled out across the EU.

1 thought on “Cold war history helps against ivory smuggling

  1. Pingback: Ivory removed from Chinese stores | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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