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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 9:229-238 (2009)  -  DOI:

Wildlife crime scene investigation: techniques, tools and technology

John E. Cooper1,3,*, Margaret E. Cooper1, Paul Budgen2

1School of Veterinary Medicine, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
2Fairview Crescent, Broadstone, Poole, Dorset BH18 9AL, UK
3Present address: Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0ES, UK

ABSTRACT: Wildlife crime, defined here as the illegal taking, disturbance, possession, trade or movement of animals and or their derivatives, is a growing international problem that threatens the survival of many species. In the investigation of such incidents the ‘crime scene’ may range from the carcass (or parts) of an animal to terrain that encompasses topography as varied as forest or desert and which may include diverse natural and man-made structures. Often, the location of the wildlife crime scene is isolated, with few facilities for proper investigation and collection of evidence. In poorer parts of the world and in countries experiencing social unrest, these features may present particular challenges. Wildlife crime scene work is such that equipment, investigative techniques and scientific technology all need to be appropriate to, and the best available in, the circumstances. Effective investigation under field conditions is likely to require a combination of portable and easy-to-use laboratory equipment coupled with modern methods of data collection and information transmission. An interdisciplinary approach is essential. Biologists/naturalists and those experienced in health studies, especially epidemiology, can often usefully complement the role of the police, enforcement officials and crime scene specialists.

KEY WORDS: Wildlife · Crime scene · Field techniques · Technology · Forensics

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Cite this article as: Cooper JE, Cooper ME, Budgen P (2009) Wildlife crime scene investigation: techniques, tools and technology. Endang Species Res 9:229-238.

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