1st Edition

Wildlife Forensic Investigation Principles and Practice

By John E. Cooper, Margaret E. Cooper Copyright 2013
    772 Pages
    by CRC Press

    772 Pages 161 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Wildlife forensics is the application of forensic science to the conservation and protection of non-domesticated animals, both in the wild and in captivity. Providing an in-depth introduction to this rapidly evolving field, Wildlife Forensic Investigation: Principles and Practice also chronicles aspects of the history of management, conservation, and environmental protection, with an emphasis on their global importance in the twenty-first century.

    The book examines the crucial role of wildlife forensic investigation with regard to live animals, dead animals and samples and covers national, regional, and international legislation. While the text particularly focuses on forensic science as it relates to wild animals, it also includes mention of plants and habitats because of their relevance to conservation. The book discusses animal welfare as well as the damage that can be inflicted on humans and property by wildlife.

    Offering access to sound evidence based on good science and obtained using the best available practices, the book is enhanced by case studies from experts who describe some of their own work. This resource is essential for those involved in a range of endeavours, including investigating wildlife crime, identifying animal remains, ascertaining the circumstances of death of wild species, and other legal proceedings and activities concerning wildlife.

    The forensic skills described in this book can be applied to a wide range of activities (not necessarily involving the legal process), including environmental impact assessments, insurance claims, governmental and other enquiries, checking of trading standards and the inspection of (for instance) pet-shops, animal boarding establishments, and zoological collections.

    The authors point out that one of the most important requirements of those persons involved in wildlife forensic work is to retain an open mind. Such personnel should also be conscious of new developments and evolving techniques and be able to anticipate situations where their investigative and scientific skills might be used to advantage—so-called "horizon scanning". Examples of these are given.

    What Is Wildlife Forensics? Types of Wildlife Investigation. Legislation. Application of Forensic Science to Wildlife Investigations. The Wildlife Crime Scene: An Introduction for First Responders. Forensic Entomology. Field Techniques: At Home and Abroad. Working with Live Animals. Working with Dead Animals. Dealing with Samples. Genetic Methodologies in Wildlife Crime Investigations. Some Aspects of Laboratory Work. Special Considerations and Scenarios. Collection and Submission of Evidence. Writing Reports and Appearing in Court. Conclusions and the Way Forward. Appendix A: Glossary. Appendix B: Facilities and Equipment Lists. Appendix C: Standard Witness Statement (United Kingdom). Appendix D: Specimen Forms – Wildlife Forensic Cases. Appendix E: Sources of Information. Appendix F: Health and Safety: Zoonoses and Other Hazards. Appendix G: Preparation and Investigation of Material. Appendix H: Scientific Names of Species and Taxa of Animals Mentioned in Text, with Notes on Taxonomy. Appendix I: Legal Aspects of Sample Movement in Wildlife Forensic Cases. Appendix J: Information and Intelligence Gathering in Wildlife Crime Investigation. Appendix K: Javan Rhino Examination Report. References and Further Reading. Index.


    John and Margaret Cooper are a husband and wife team from the United Kingdom. John E. Cooper trained as a veterinary surgeon and is now a specialist pathologist with particular interests in wildlife and exotic species, tropical diseases and comparative medicine. He has served widely as a consultant expert witness and teaches pathology and wildlife health at different levels. Margaret E. Cooper is a lawyer who trained originally as a British solicitor and has made the study of animal and conservation law her special interest. The Coopers have travelled widely and lectured together in many countries. They have spent nearly ten years living in Africa, including a period in Rwanda working with mountain gorillas. They continue to combine their medical and legal backgrounds in the promotion of an interdisciplinary approach to veterinary and biological education, wildlife conservation, and forensic science.