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Wildlife Forensics: Methods and Applications

ISBN: 978-0-470-66258-8
396 pages
December 2011
Wildlife Forensics: Methods and Applications (0470662581) cover image
Wildlife Forensics: Methods and Applications provides an accessible and practical approach to the key areas involved in this developing subject. The book contains case studies throughout the text that take the reader from the field, to the lab analysis to the court room, giving a complete insight into the path of forensic evidence and demonstrating how current techniques can be applied to wildlife forensics.

The book contains approaches that wildlife forensic investigators and laboratory technicians can employ in investigations and provides the direction and practical advice required by legal and police professionals seeking to gain the evidence needed to prosecute wildlife crimes.

The book will bring together in one text various aspects of wildlife forensics, including statistics, toxicology, pathology, entomology, morphological identification, and DNA analysis.

This book will be an invaluable reference and will provide investigators, laboratory technicians and students in forensic Science/conservation biology classes with practical guidance and best methods for criminal investigations applied to wildlife crime.

  • Includes practical techniques that wildlife forensic investigators and laboratory technicians can employ in investigations.
  • Includes case studies to illustrate various key methods and applications.
  • Brings together diverse areas of forensic science and demonstrates their application specifically to the field of wildlife crime.
  • Contains methodology boxes to lead readers through the processes of individual techniques.
  • Takes an applied approach to the subject to appeal to both students of the subject and practitioners in the field.
  • Includes a broad introduction to what is meant by 'wildlife crime', how to approach a crime scene and collect evidence and includes chapters dedicated to the key techniques utilized in wildlife investigations.
  • Includes chapters on wildlife forensic pathology; zooanthropological techniques; biological trace evidence analysis; the importance of bitemark evidence; plant and wildlife forensics; best practices and law enforcement.
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Developments in Forensic Science xiii

About the Editors xv

List of Contributors xvii

Foreword xxiii

Acknowledgements xxv

1 Wildlife Ownership 1
Eric G. Roscoe and Michael McMaster

Introduction 1

Ancient Rome and the Concept of Res Nullius 2

Common Law England: The King’s Ownership 3

The New World: Hunting for the Market 5

Management: The Property Right of States 8

Federal Law and the Regulatory State 10

Globalization: Working toward Worldwide Conservation Practices 11

Conclusion 13

Cases Cited 13

References 13

2 Society for Wildlife Forensic Science 15
DeeDee Hawk

Introduction 15

Formation of the Society 19

The Code of Ethics 22

Membership of the Society 24

Member Labs 25

Proficiency Program 25

Scientific Working Group for Wildlife Forensic Sciences (SWGWILD) 29

Conclusion 32

References 33

3 The Application of Forensic Science to Wildlife Evidence 35
John R. Wallace and Jill C. Ross

Introduction 35

Overview of Forensic Science 37

Enforcement of Wildlife Protection Policy 44

Development of Wildlife Forensic Laboratories 45

Current Perceptions 47

Conclusion 48

Acknowledgements 49

References 49

4 Defining a Crime Scene and Physical Evidence Collection 51
Jason H. Byrd and Lerah K. Sutton

Introduction 51

Definition of a Crime Scene 51

Questions to Be Asked 52

Scene Priority 52

First Responding Officer 53

Securing the Scene 53

Chain of Custody 55

Processing the Scene 55

Initial Documentation 56

Scene Documentation 58

Remains in an Aquatic Environment 60

Collection of Evidence 61

Review of Scene Processing 62

Final Inspection 62

References 63

5 Forensic Evidence Collection and Cultural Motives for Animal Harvesting 65
Michelle D. Hamilton and Elizabeth M. Erhart

Introduction 65

Wild Animals as Pharmacopeias 66

Trade in Wild Animals 67

Recovering Evidence at Poaching Scenes 68

Locating the Burial: Anomalies on the Surface 71

Acknowledgements 76

References 76

6 Forensic Entomology and Wildlife 81
Jeffery K. Tomberlin and Michelle R. Sanford

Introduction 81

Application of Forensic Entomology to Wildlife Crimes 82

Arthropods Commonly Encountered 86

Diptera 88

Coleoptera 95

Sampling 98

Conclusion 100

Appendix 101

Acknowledgements 102

References 102

7 Wildlife Forensic Pathology and Toxicology in Wound Analysis and Pesticide Poisoning 109
Douglas E. Roscoe and William Stansley

Introduction 109

Wound Analysis 109

Wildlife Poisoning by Insecticides 121

Wildlife Poisoning by Rodenticides 123

References 125

8 The Use of Hair Morphology in the Identification of Mammals 129
Lisa Knecht

Introduction 129

Types of Hair 130

Hair Structure 131

Techniques for Studying Hair Structure 140

Conclusion 142

References 142

9 Plants and Wildlife Forensics 145
Christopher R. Hardy and David S. Martin

Introduction 145

Plants as Trace Evidence 145

Poisonous Plants 149

The Basics of Collecting and Preserving Botanical Evidence 153

Finding a Forensic Botanist 156

Conclusion 156

Acknowledgements 157

References 157

10 Identification of Reptile Skin Products Using Scale Morphology 161
David L. Martin

Introduction 161

International Trade in Reptile Skins 162

Challenges to Species Identification of Reptile Skin Products 166

Species and Products Represented in the Reptile Skin Trade 168

Reptile Scale Morphology Basics and Current Limitations 170

Identifying Features of Major Reptile Groups 178

Conclusion 194

Acknowledgements 195

References 195

11 Best Practices in Wildlife Forensic DNA 201
M. Katherine Moore and Irving L. Kornfield

Introduction 201

The Need for Appropriate Standards 203

Wildlife Forensic DNA Best Practices 206

Standards and Guidelines for Wildlife Forensics 206

Training 208

Case File 209

Laboratory Facility (QA) 213

Validation 214

Laboratory Protocols 216

Data Analysis 218

Interpretation Guidelines 220

Vouchers/Reference Samples 221

Species Identification 224

Reporting 224

Contents of the Case Report 225

Review 226

Court Testimony 229

The Way Forward 230

Note 230

Acknowledgements 230

References 231

12 Statistics for Wildlife Forensic DNA 237
B.S. Weir

Introduction 237

The Central Problem 238

Genetic Sampling 241

Lineage Markers 242

Relatedness 245

Inbreeding 247

Testing for Allele Independence 248

Assignment testing 250

Conclusion 251

References 252

13 Forensic DNA Analysis of Wildlife Evidence 253
Sabrina N. McGraw, Shamus P. Keeler, and Jane E. Huffman

Introduction 253

DNA Isolation and Handling 254

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) 255

Sample Speciation 256

Minisatellites (VNTRs) 256

Mitochondrial Markers (mtDNA) 257

Additional Genetic Speciation Methods 259

Limitations of Genetic Speciation 260

Sample Sexing 261

Sample Individualization 262

Sample Localization 263

Validation of Wildlife Forensic Techniques 264

Court Admissibility 266

Conclusion 266

Cases Cited 266

References 267

14 DNA Applications and Implementation 271
Robert Ogden

Introduction 271

History 272

Questions and Techniques: Wildlife Crime Issues 272

Species Identification 273

Identification of Geographic Origin 275

Individual Identification 279

Exclusion 280

Practical Applications 282

Sample Types for DNA Analysis 282

Laboratory Models: Individual Facilities 283

Future Developments 287

Summary 288

References 289

15 Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Forensics of Birds 293
Rebecca N. Johnson

Introduction 293

Avian Genetics 295

Avian Taxonomy, Legislation and Conservation 299

Avian Wildlife Forensics: A Range of Applications 302

Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Forensics: Identification Using DNA 307

Conclusion 315

References 317

16 Wildlife Forensics in Thailand: Utilization of Mitochondrial DNA Sequences 327
Suchitra Changtragoon

Introduction 327

DNA Extraction and Amplification 327

DNA Sequencing 328

Origin Identification 328

Species and Subspecies Identification 328

Results of the Investigations 330

Conclusion 338

Acknowledgements 341

References 341

17 The Future of Wildlife Forensic Science 343
Edgard O. Espinoza, Jesica L. Espinoza, Pepper W. Trail, and Barry W. Baker

Introduction 343

Technical Challenges 344

Enhancing Wildlife Protection by Integrating Forensic Science and the Law 350

The U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Limits of Science 351

The Future of Forensic Scientists and the Laboratories in which They Work 353

Conclusion 355

Acknowledgments 356

References 356

Index 359

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Dr. Jane Huffman, Ph.D. is the director of the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory at East Stroudsburg University, where her work focuses on the application of genetic methods to wildlife law enforcement and conservation management. She runs wildlife DNA forensic training courses for conservation officers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She, along with her students, has undertaken a wide range of applied research projects including the development of DNA profiling systems for game species in PA and NJ and microscopic hair characterization. The laboratory provides species identification tests for illegally sold wild meat. She provides forensic analysis and expert witness testimony in PA wildlife crime prosecutions.
Dr. Huffman is also the graduate student coordinator for the Department of Biological Sciences at East Stroudsburg University.

Dr. John R. Wallace, Ph.D., D-ABFE, F-AAFS, is one of 15 board-certified forensic entomologists and a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Entomology. Dr. Wallace is a Professor of Biology and focuses on teaching courses in Entomology, Aquatic Biology, Aquatic Entomology, Forensic Entomology, Forensic Science, and Ecology and Evolution. His research interests cover topics such as mosquito and disease ecology as well as mosquito and blackfly surveillance, and the role of aquatic organisms such as insects, algae and crayfish on decomposition within forensic science.
As a forensic entomologist, Dr. Wallace has participated in criminal investigations all over the country since 1995. He has taught forensic entomology courses at the University level and workshops at various universities to law enforcement throughout the United States, published more than 45 articles or book chapters in National/International journals. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science and an active member since 2002. Dr. Wallace is a co-founder and past President of the North American Forensic Entomology Association (NAFEA) in 2005 as well as the editor-elect for the NAFEA newsletter.

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“This book is written in an easy to comprehend style and the concise chapters are full of information. Few books are specific to veterinary forensics and I would recommend this one for the library of anyone involved in this field.”  (Doody’s, 24 August 2012)

 

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