We’re developing the technology snow leopard protectors need

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A fast, cheap and accessible species detection kit.

With our technology, researchers, customs officers and community conservationists could identify snow leopards from their samples 144 faster and 20 times cheaper than the best conventional lab test

Let’s hear what they think…

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I want to hear from…

Snow leopard researchers
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I want to hear from…

Customs officers
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I want to hear from…

Community conservationists
Researchers icon

A new tool for snow leopard researchers

With the WildTechDNA species detection kit, researchers could identify snow leopard scat samples in the field within 30 minutes. By enabling near-instant species detection, our kit will help researchers:

  1. Better track this illusive species
  2. Pre-screen samples before collection
  3. Save money on unnecessary lab tests
  4. Speed up the pace of research
How will this kit impact snow leopard research?

We asked…

Tatjana Rosen

Conservation Adviser – Ilbirs Foundation
Lead for “Vanishing Treasures” project in Kyrgyzstan

Customs icon

A new tool for customs officers

With the WildTechDNA species detection kit, customs officers could positively identify illegal wildlife goods in real-time at our borders. By making it quick, cheap and simple to tell illegal from legal samples, the kit will help law enforcers:

  1. Streamline the inspection of traded goods
  2. Speed up the detection of wildlife crime
  3. Gather evidence to secure convictions
  4. Save money on expensive lab tests
What does this mean for customs officers?

We asked…

Luke Bond

Wildlife crime consultant

Community Conservationists icon

A new tool for community conservationists

With the WildTechDNA species detection kit, community conservationists could take the lead on research in their communities. By giving non-specialists access to simple and affordable tools, we can help them:

  1. Identify the predators impacting their lives
  2. Contribute to the research that affects them
  3. Direct conservation management solutions
  4. Lead local wildlife and conservation education
Community conservationists in Nepal

Photo credit: Pangje Foundation

Talk to us about the WildTechDNA kit

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Time to positive ID:

Our kit vs conventional lab tests

Our tech

DNA fingerprinting technology + paper-based detection =
the quickest, cheapest and simplest way to identify snow leopards from their samples

WildTechDNA - Simple
Simple

Almost as simple as a pregnancy test

WildTechDNA - Affordable
Affordable

Costs around $1 per test

WildTechDNA - Accurate
Accurate

As accurate as conventional lab tests

Wildtech DNA field kit mockup
WildTechDNA - Quick
Quick

Results in around 30 minutes

WildTechDNA - Accessible
Accessible

No specialist training needed

WildTechDNA - Accessible
Portable
Fits in the palm of your hand

To bring our tech to market we’re…

Developing the technology through research

Through research, we will solve two major scientific challenges. Ones that have acted as roadblocks to the engineering of low-cost, in-field DNA testing devices.

  • First, it is difficult and time-consuming to isolate target DNA from biological samples because the process requires multiple chemical, physical and thermal steps.
  • Second, it is difficult to detect a small amount of target DNA in a sample containing a large amount of background material.

Our paper-based hand-held device will operate much like a pregnancy test, performing three functions in one: 

  1. Capturing the DNA from a variety of genetic sources (e.g feces, bone, skin etc.)
  2. Producing readable copies of the DNA, and
  3. Detecting the target species DNA through a simple colour change

WildTechDNA – in partnership with McMaster University and the University of Calgary and grant-funded by the Canadian Government (NSERC), Alberta Innovates and the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) – is beginning laboratory research with a focus on caribou fecal detection.

Caribou are a migratory species highly threatened in Canada and are therefore of considerable importance to both government and industry. Our methodology builds upon the foundational work of Dr Yingfu Li of McMaster University, who developed a paper-based DNA biosensor to detect bacteria in food and water samples.

Exploring a new, collaborative funding model

WildTechDNA is building a partnership model for funding new conservation technology. We’re bringing together the science, conservation, business and public sector communities to scale the opportunity provided by our caribou research to include the big cats.

We currently have in-kind partnership agreements in place with the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society. But we would benefit greatly in having the assistance of the snow leopard range countries through GSLEP.

With your support, we can ensure the technology gets to where it is most needed, for the conservation of this species.

Beyond this, our goal and intention is to extend the technology to multiple species, applications and countries across the globe for conservation purposes.

Backed by the worlds wildlife protectors

Rodrigo Medellín

“This is a powerful, revolutionary tool for the real time detection of species with lots of potential to be applied to all sorts of conservation and management questions and policies.”

Rodrigo Medellín

Dr Rodrigo A Medellín

Senior Professor of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Jorge Rickards

“The applications for such technology are vast, essentially replacing the need for expensive, complex and time-consuming laboratory DNA finger-printing. […] This technology is nothing short of revolutionary.”

Jorge Rickards

Jorge Rickards

Director General, WWF Mexico

Koustubh Sharma

“We strongly believe that this portable DNA detection device will be of significant value to GLSEP and other global stakeholders committed to species conservation and we are keen to offer our full support to this proposal.”

Koustubh Sharma, PhD

International Coordinator – GSLEP
Senior Regional Ecologist – Snow Leopard Trust

Arnulf Köhncke

“We believe that the proposed project could deliver substantial conservation benefits, especially to our threatened flagship species, both in the wild and in the illegal wildlife trade.”

Dr. Arnulf Köhncke

Director Species Conservation, WWF Germany

Tatjana Rosen

“The proposed project can have enormous application in Central Asia for snow leopards (as well as other species) for monitoring and also for detecting illegal wildlife trade.”

Tatjana Rosen

Conservation Adviser, Ilbirs Foundation
Lead for “Vanishing Treasures” project in Kyrgyzstan

Stefan Prost

“Such a device will be a valuable tool in monitoring endangered species as well as in the assessment of human-wildlife conflicts.”

Stefan Prost, PhD

LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics

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