The Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh is going to set up a DNA bank for wildlife, first of its kind in North India. Researchers at the institute are in the process of collecting the DNA of all wild animals. They have up until now collected samples of around 140 species. Though the bank, the scientists at IVRI’s Centre for Wildlife will be able to tell the name and schedule of the species by studying just a part of the meat, hair, blood, skin or bone of any animal.
The centre would also be collecting serum of animals. The move is expected to assist in research and help bring down poaching and smuggling of wildlife. The bank would be only next to Hyderabad’s Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), which is currently the only such facility in India.
According to Anil Kumar Sharma, the principal scientist and in-charge of the Centre for Wildlife, IVRI, so far, the scientists have collected 140 samples of 25 wild animals. He added that the bank is expected to be fully functional at the end of 2017. The Veterinary Research Institute took almost a year to collect the DNA samples of big animals like tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos, deer and leopards, which are most susceptible to illegal activities like poaching.
Sharma further added that currently whenever there is a poaching incident, the specimen of the animal is immediately sent to the facility in Hyderabad, which not only makes the whole process expensive but also puts too much pressure on the Hyderabad institute. The new DNA bank would cater to the needs of North India.