Genetic tagging can track animals more efficiently with less harm: UBCO researchers

Genetic tagging can track animals more efficiently with less harm: UBCO researchers

‘Genetic tagging can (collect) the same data without the cost, time and stress on the animal’

Described as a non-invasive approach to identifying and tracking animals, genetic tagging uses an animal’s DNA from their feces, saliva and hair.

Over the years, ecologists and conservation officials have experimented with numerous tracking and identification methods in a quest to get the data they need to answer these questions.

Now, in a recent article published in Ecological Applications, researchers from UBC Okanagan and the University of Alberta have found that genetic tagging—tracking individual animals using DNA collected in their habitat—can be a powerful tool in collecting this data.

READ MORE: The life of Eli’s father: How a youth stab-victim ended up on the streets

“Using these detection histories, we’re able to get so much information on what’s going on in nature,” said Adam Ford, assistant professor in biology at UBCO and Canada research chair in wildlife restoration ecology. “We’re using this data to generate density maps, detect trend populations, identify migrants, and individually identify problem wildlife. We can also use DNA to incriminate poachers.”

“Tags work well, particularly for smaller mammals, but you have to capture the animal first, and then somehow recapture it—and do this in a way that’s safe for you and them,” said Ford.

For example, bears scratch their backs on what researchers call “rub trees”. They can then, collect the hair residue on the bark of the tree.

By taking a closer look at measuring tools like genetic tagging, Ford said ecologists will not just be able to describe a trend of the animals, but also understand why numbers are shifting and what they can do about it.

READ MORE: Vision revealed for UBCO growth over next 20 years

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read