How Simple Forensic Fingerprinting Could Help the World's Most Trafficked Mammal
Researchers have developed a simple, easy-to-use method for lifting fingerprints from pangolin scales.
British researchers have tested a method to lift fingerprints from the scales of pangolins, an endangered ant-eating animal believed to be the most trafficked mammal in the world. Using standard gelatin lifters—small sheets with adhesive on one side commonly used by crime scene investigators to collect fingerprints and other trace evidence—researchers with the University of Portsmouth in England and the nonprofit Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have successfully lifted clear fingerprints off pangolin scales. Showing that this is possible means that law enforcement around the world could use this simple technology to identify the poachers and traffickers who have handled pangolin scales.
During the past decade, some one million pangolins have been poached and trafficked, primarily for use in traditional Asian