By Melissa Hogenboom
The atmospheric carbon left over from nuclear bomb testing could help scientists track poached ivory, new research has found.
These bomb tests changed the level of carbon in the atmosphere, which can be traced to date elephant tusks.
Trafficking poached ivory is increasingly being used to fund civil wars, groups warn.
Scientists say the findings, published in PNAS, could make it easier to enforce the ivory ban.
The number of elephants being poached is now at the highest it has been for two decades, according to a UN backed report.
This was highlighted in January when a family of 11 elephants was slaughtered in Kenya, their tusks hacked off with machetes.
In the 1980s, more than half of Africa's elephants are thought to have been wiped out by poachers. This led to an international ban on trading ivory in 1989. As public awareness of the threat of extinction increased, the global demand for ivory dwindled.
But today conservationists believe that a growing demand for ivory in China and other Asian countries is responsible for a huge increase in the number of animals being poached. More....