In early September, BGI Group and the Science and Technology Research Center of China Customs (STRC) signed a strategic cooperation agreement that will significantly advance wildlife protection efforts, fight against smuggling, and aid in the identification of endangered species in imports and exports.
BGI Group and the Science and Technology Research Center of China Customs (STRC) signed a strategic cooperation agreement.
As part of this effort, a platform for species preservation and information analysis will be established. The platform will enhance customs supervision and species identification in imports and exports, thereby safeguarding rare species, preventing illegal trade, and mitigating the risks of dangerous species being released into the wild.
Genomic technology has already found extensive applications in wildlife identification and the fight against smuggling. In 2018, BGI conducted genetic sequencing and analysis of rescued slow lorises (Nycticebus pygmaeus) on Wutong Mountain in Shenzhen. The results indicated that these slow lorises had been illegally smuggled from Southeast Asian countries, assisting law enforcement and customs agencies in investigating and combating smuggling crimes.
Slow lorises are listed as endangered species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and are also classified as China National First-Class Protected Animals, making their capture, trade, transportation, and keeping strictly prohibited.
In April 2020, BGI Group partnered with China Northeast Forestry University (NEFU) to establish the NEFU-BGI (Shenzhen) Joint Laboratory on wildlife forensics. With a mission to contribute to the fight against wildlife trafficking, the crackdown on illegal wildlife sales, and the protection of endangered wildlife, the laboratory is capable of identifying up to 12,000 species of wild animals, including the major wildlife species listed by relevant Chinese and international laws and regulations on wildlife conservation and import/export management.