Science

Keeping Endangered Animals Safe with Barcodes

Barcodes and Endangered Animals

Barcodes have cemented their role in modern-day society which you can read about in many different articles and sources of information on our website www.barcodesolutions.co.za/buybarcodes.

And they have become so much a part of our everyday life that we tend to take them for granted.  Not many people know this, but barcodes have played a role in saving millions of endangered species.

Endangered species are animals or organisms that are on the verge of becoming extinct. In these modern days, the list of species on the endangered species list is devastatingly long.

This is mostly due to illegal poaching as well as encroachment of man on the natural environment. 

If we’re not careful, we will lose these species altogether and wildlife officers and the organizations that work with endangered species are using barcodes to try and assist them in preventing this. 

These are a few of the currently endangered species in Africa:

  • Cape Vulture
  • Cheetah
  • African Wild Dog
  • Blue Crane
  • Black Rhino

The list continues. 

Most recently there has been a surge in illegal nets being thrown in the ocean, these illegal nets are placed in deep waters where there are many endangered species such as sharks, whales, and turtles.

It’s extremely devastating that some humans have no regard for the animal life they are affecting. These illegal nets are now being called “walls of death” as they increase in numbers over a short period of time.

These are not short nets that we are talking about, some of them reach up to 50kms in length.

As per The Guardian “Fisheries bycatch, some of which is due to drift nets accounted for the deaths of more than 300,000 small whales, dolphins and porpoises in 2008, and that figure that is likely to have since doubled.”

So, how do GS1 barcodes prevent the extinction of Endangered Species in Africa as well as throughout the world?  This is a good question and it is a question that this article aims to answer.

They assist in fighting against the illegal poaching and killing of endangered species. One of the biggest problems facing Game Rangers today is the struggle to identify the specific species of a carcass. Often the animal is only found some time after it was killed.

In these cases, it is hard to even determine what animal it is. GS1 Barcodes assist by identifying the species of the carcasses via gene amplification and gene sequencing.

The way this works is that the game ranger will take a minuscule part of the unique gene and using this sample, they “barcode” the animal.

This makes the identification of any animal species possible as well as a lot more accurate.   These “barcoded” samples are placed on an international database of Wildlife DNA samples called Barcode of Life Data System’s.

Whenever a carcass is found, all the Game Ranger needs to do is to take a sample and compare it to this international database.

This makes identification faster and more accurate – saving time and ultimately saving the lives of these animals. This system is freely available to all and anyone who would like to research and work with DNA barcodes.

Wildlife Officers are actively fighting against poaching and they need all the help they can get.  When they search the house of a poaching suspect, they often come across meat in their freezer.

Without GS1 barcodes, it is impossible to prove that this meat is from the poached animal. In order to be able to arrest and charge the suspect, finding concrete and undeniable proof is critical.

It’s made possible by taking a small sample of the meat and using the DNA barcodes database to identify precisely which animal species it is.

This has all enabled the Wildlife Rangers to prosecute poachers and thereby combat the poaching of endangered species and save the lives of millions of animals worldwide. 

There are many other uses for barcodes in the world of ecology and nature conservation. Biologists use GS1 barcodes to identify various specimens that they come across.

If a specimen is damaged or broken, it becomes very complicated to identify it accurately.  In these cases, they would have to get in an expert which would cost money.

The solution came from a Canadian called Paul Herbert who created DNA Barcoding. The way this works is that very short genetic sequences are used to identify the specimen. This is done in the same way that a scanner scans an item at a checkout counter.

This has allowed for quick and accurate identification of specimens. The four parts of the process include the specimen itself, analysis in a laboratory, creating a database of specimens and analysing the data and comparing the specific specimen to the database. 

In this way, codes have promoted our knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and ecology. 

Yet another way that they are used within ecology and nature conservation is by identifying herbal plants for the growing health care business involving the use of herbal plants to cure and ease illnesses. 

It’s critical to identify the specific herb accurately.  Incorrect identification can be fatal. By identifying the specific herb quickly and accurately, barcodes save both time and money and ensure the safety of the Herbal Health Care.

We are proud to be a part of the development of technology with GS1 barcodes and trying to educate people on the dangers of these beautiful animals becoming extinct.

Make sure to go the extra mile for our clients and make sure that their business has what it takes to take the lead. Remember that recycling your products such as cell phones also helps because a mineral used in electronic production is mined in gorilla habitat.

Together we can help and please do not hesitate to contact us for any information or questions. You will not regret it; we promise you that.

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