DNA Forensics Can End Ivory Trafficking. Will Countries Play Along?

Yves Hoareau, a research scientist at the University of Washington, Seattle, removes a set of keys firmly clamped to his belt and unlocks the door to the walk-in refrigerator. Illuminated beneath bright fluorescent lights, the cold, cramped space inside more closely resembles a mail room than a meat locker: cardboard boxes, some of which are adorned with “Kenya Airways Cargo” stickers and “Kenya Customs” packing tape, are stacked on many of the wire shelves. Overflowing within the boxes are small plastic containers, of the sort that are used to collect urine, each of which holds a single precious sample: ivory.