U of I duo creates software to track lion poaching

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — There’s a new tool to help protect lions across Africa, thanks to two people from the University of Illinois.

It is called Lion Localizer, a software that will be used to search for poachers. Graduate student Wesley Au and professor Alfred Roca said they were working on a system for elephants when a group called the Trace Wildlife Forensics Network contacted them. They wanted similar technology to trace lion DNA.

They said it took them two years to build this software, and now they’re excited for companies to start using their creation.

“What Lion Localizer does is it compares it [DNA] sequence to every other sequence and it gives a list and a map,” said Roca. “The record is in the order of equality with the sequence that was entered. Then the map shows the places in Africa, you know, the different countries and the different parts of Africa.”

He said right now the database is undergoing testing before it goes live.

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