Was elusive carnivore a panther? DNA typing of faeces reveals the mystery

Sunil Kumar Verma, Kasturi Prasad, Narayan Nagesh, Mehar Sultana, Lalji Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In this study, we report the findings of a recent case in which the officials of an Indian zoo claimed that an animal, possibly a carnivore, is periodically visiting the zoo from a nearby vast forest area and causing panic in zoo and nearby villages. They collected some elusive faecal material from the vicinity of an herbivore enclosure. Looking to the pugmarks found in that area and faecal matter ceased, the officials could not decide whether it was a lioness, a tiger or a panther. We resolved this mystery by DNA-based analysis of the faecal material, using our recently developed novel universal primers to amplify and sequence a specific fragment of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. The findings of the DNA-based analyses were confirmed after few days when the zoo officials trapped the animal of same species as suggested in our report. The potential of our procedure to investigate the cases related to wildlife offence is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-20
Number of pages5
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 14 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Faecal material
  • Forensics
  • Universal primers
  • Wildlife identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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