Patrícia Chrzanová Pecnerová receives substantial funding for research into the elephant diversity
The Swedish agency FORMAS, a research council for sustainable development, has granted Branco Weiss Fellow Patrícia Chrzanová Pecnerová additional research funding of 4 million Swedish kronor (about 335,000 euros). The four-year project at Lund University is entitled “A Genomic Investigation of the Diversity Lost to the Elephant Ivory Trade”. Patrícia will use the Swedish Museum of Natural History’s extensive ivory collection to conduct a genomic investigation of samples from the colonial period to the present day. The aim is to determine whether elephant genetic diversity has declined over the past 5,000 years as a result of exploitation as early as the Bronze Age, or whether this process is primarily due to intensive hunting practices in the colonial and modern periods. It is known from historical records that entire elephant populations in ancient Egypt and North Africa were wiped out during the Roman conquest. The research project aims to provide a higher resolution of the impact of human activities and to establish a baseline of elephant genetic diversity prior to massive human intervention.