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Tiger forensics

Museum visitors examining a Sumatran Tiger. Photo: Steven Siewert. Source: SMH.

Marcus Strom, Australian Museum Science Festival gives you hands-on forensic experience, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 August 2016

Science solves crimes. That’s one message to emerge from the Australian Museum Science Festival this month.

With fewer than 4000 tigers left in the wild, the fight against illegal bone and skin trade has never been more important.

Rebecca Johnson is the director of the museum’s Research Institute. She recently visited the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, to present a talk on the museum’s tiger bone data and view its collection of bones.

The Australian Museum has developed a 3D-scanning method that will help enforcement agencies in Asia accurately identify tiger bones. Many poachers try to pass off lion and other bone as tiger bone, so it is difficult to keep track of the trade.

“It’s important to know how many tigers have been affected by poaching, not only in regards to ensuring correct penalties are applied but so that we can keep track of numbers of tigers that are killed illegally, if we are to ensure that the tigers we have left are secure,” Dr Johnson said.

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