Forensic Analysis of Poaching: Wildlife in the Legal Arena
UTTAR PRADESH JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, Volume 44, Issue 23,
Poaching and the international wildlife trade are growing problems, fueled by a confluence of greed and poverty and managed by ever-more-evolving criminal networks. These actions lead to the loss of biodiversity, which is made worse by changes in habitat and drives many species to the verge of extinction. In this situation, forensic evidence is the cornerstone of investigations into crimes involving both people and animals, and it is essential to securing convictions and criminal prosecutions. The application of forensic methods—especially in the field of forensic genetics—is constantly progressing, giving investigators the instruments they need to address the many problems associated with wildlife-related inquiries.
This article highlights current developments while examining the evolution of these forensic tools and their useful uses. In addition, it provides examples of actual cases where forensic evidence was crucial in obtaining convictions, paving the way for the eventual application of similar methods to dismantle criminal organizations and safeguard species for the sake of maintaining biodiversity.
How to Cite
Nellemann C, Henriksen R, Kreilhuber A, Stewart D, Kotsovou M, et al. The rise of environmental crime – a growing threat to natural resources peace, development and security. UNEP-Interpol Rapid Response Assess., UN Environ. Progr., Nairobi; 2016.
Smart U, Cihlar JC, Budowle B. International wildlife trafficking: a perspective on the challenges and potential forensic genetics solutions. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2021;54:102551.
Challender DWS, Challender DWS, Hinsley A, Veríssimo D, Milner-Gulland EJ. Illegal wildlife trade: scale, processes, and governance. Annu Rev Environ Resour. 2019;44(1):201-28.
Coals P, Moorhouse TP, D’Cruze NC, Macdonald DW, Loveridge AJ. Preferences for lion and tiger bone wines amongst the urban public in China and Vietnam. J Nat Conserv. 2020;57:125874.
Emslie RH, Milliken T, Talukdar B, Burgess G, Adcock K, et al. A report from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and TRAFFIC to the CITES; 2019.
Secretariat pursuant to Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev. CoP17). Rep., IUCN SSC Afr. Rhino Spec. Group, IUCN SSC Asian Rhino Spec. Group (AsRSG), TRAFFIC, Cambridge, UK Stoddard E. Rhino poaching rebounds from Covid-19 containment—private reserves fight a surge; 2021.
Daily Maverick, Aug. 1. Available:https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-08-01-rhino-poachingrebounds-from-covid-19-containment-private-reserves-fight-a-surge/
Carnie T. Rhino bloodbath in KZN as poachers gun down 75 animals this year. Daily Maverick; 2022 Available:https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-04-05-rhino-bloodbath-in-kzn-aspoachers-gun-down-75-animals-this-year/.
Africa Geographic. Kruger rhino poaching update: 75% population reduction in 10 years; 2022.
Africa Geographic, Jan. 20.https://africageographic.com/stories/kruger-rhino-poaching-update-75- population-reduction-in-10-years/.
Gobush KS, Edwards CTT, Maisels F, Wittemyer G, Balfour D, Taylor RD. Loxodonta cyclotis. In The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T181007989A204404464. Gland, Switz.: Int. Union Conserv. Nat. Errata version; 2021.
Almond REA, Grooten M, Petersen T. WWF 2020 Living planet report 2020: bending the curve of biodiversity loss. Rep., World Wildl. Fed., Gland, Switz; 2020.
Cardoso P, Amponsah-Mensah K, Barreiros JP, Bouhuys J, Cheung H, Davies A, et al. Scientists’ warning to humanity on illegal or unsustainable wildlife trade. Biol Conserv. 2021;263:109341.
UN Off. Drugs Crime. World wildlife crime report 2020: trafficking in protected species. Rep., UN Off. Drugs Crime, Vienna; 2020.
Zain S. Corrupting trade: an overview of corruption issues in illicit wildlife trade. Introd. Overv., Target. Nat. Resour. Corrupt., Washington, DC; 2020. Available:https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/tnrc-introductoryoverview-corrupting-trade-an-overview-of-corruption-issues-in-illicit-wildlife-trade.
Prinsloo D, Riley-Smith S, Stevens J. On the case: identifying corruption by reviewing wildlife crime court cases in southern Africa. Rep., TRAFFIC, Cambridge, UK; 2022.
Nyhus PJ. Human–wildlife conflict and coexistence. Annu Rev Environ Resour. 2016;41(1):143-71.
Fynn R, Kolawole O. Poaching and the problem with conservation in Africa (commentary). Mongabay; 2020. Available:https://news.mongabay.com/2020/03/poaching-and-the-problem-withconservation-in-africa-commentary/.
Lunstrum E, Givá N. What drives commercial poaching? From poverty to economic inequality. Biological Conservation. 2020;245.
Trent Long M, Au B. Why are pangolins so prized in China? China Dial; 2020. 21. Available:https://
Singh D, Bharti M. Further observations on the nocturnal oviposition behavior of blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Forensic Science International. 2001;120:124-126.
Greenberg B. Chrysomya megacephala (f.) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) collected in North America and notes on Chrysomya species present in the new world. J Med Entomol. 1988;25(3):199-200.
DeJong GC, Chadwick JW. Additional county records and a correction to the checklist of the Calliphoridae (Diptera) of Colorado, with a new state record for Chrysoma rufififacies. J Kans Entomol Soc. 1997;70:47-51.
Greenberg B. Flies as forensic indicators. J Med Entomol. 1991;28(5):565-77.
Goodbrod JR, Goff ML. Effects of larval population density on rates of development and interactions between two species of Chrysomya (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in laboratory culture. J Med Entomol. 1990;27(3):338-43.
Byrd JH, Butler JF. Effects of temperature on Chrysomya rufifacies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) development. J Med Entomol. 1997;34(3):353-8.
Norton LE, Garriott JC, DiMaio VJM. Drug detection at autopsy: a prospective study of 247 cases. J Forensic Sci. 1982;27(1):66-71.
Garriott JC, DiMaio VJM, Petty CS. Death by poisoning: a ten-year survey of Dallas County. J Forensic Sci. 1982;27(4):868- 79.
Clarkson CA, Hobischak NR, Anderson GS. A comparison of the development rate of Protophormia terraenovae (Robineau-Desvoidy) under constant and fluctuating temperature regimes. Can Soc Forensic Sci J. 2004;37(2):95-101.
Meek CL, Puskarich-May C, Carlton CE. New state record for the hairy maggot blow flfly Chrysomya rufififacies (Macquart). Southwest Entomol. 1998;23:373-5.
Byrd JH, Castner JL, editors. Forensic entomology: the utility of arthropods in legal investigations. 3rd ed. CRC Press; 2021.
Cammack JA. Using forensic entomology to estimate time since death: A case-based review. J Forensic Sci. 2021;66(6):2126-37.
Sharan A, Choudhary S. A review on the role of forensic entomology in legal investigation. J Indian Acad Forensic Med. 2021;43(2):216-20.
Oliveira PMP, Barata AM, Oliveira JT. Insect colonization of human and animal corpses in a semi-arid environment: implications for entomotoxicology. Forensic Sci Int. 2021;323:110725.
Gennard D. Forensic entomology: an introduction. 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons; 2021.
Wasser SK, et al. Genetic assignment of large seizures of elephant ivory reveals Africa’s major poaching hotspots. Science. 2010;327(5968):1331-5.
Milliken T, Emslie RH, Talukdar B. African and Asian rhinoceroses – status, conservation and trade. CoP15 Doc. 2009;55.
Johnson RN, et al. Non-invasive prenatal paternity testing by low coverage shotgun sequencing of maternal plasma DNA. Genomics. 2016;107(3):123-7.
Roe D, Leader-Williams N. Mobilizing rural communities for national policy implementation: lessons from CAMPFIRE. Environment. 2004;46(3):8-20.
Prost S, et al. 30 years after movie ’The Elephant Man’: an autosomal STR genotyping analysis. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2007;1(3-4):199-202.
Smith O, et al. Genomic hotspots for adaptation: the population genetics of Müllerian mimicry in Heliconius Erato. PLOS Biol. 2019;17(1):e3000091.
Sherman D, Bearder S. The natural history and conservation of the civets. The Biol Conserv Procyonids Mustelids Viverrids S Am. 2014:(219-28).
Cooper JE, Cooper DR, Scholtz R. Horns, tusks, and flippers: the evolution of hoofed mammals, narwhals, and whales; 2017.
Wang J, et al. Seizures of ivory in Asia 2001-2015. ATR. 2019;17(3).
Lin H. The implications of poaching for biodiversity conservation in Malawi; 2021.
Larison B, Harrigan R. Stop poaching of paws: image analysis for improving cheetah population estimates; 2019.
King LE, McDougal C. Assessing niche overlap for two large sympatric herbivores: white rhinoceros and plains zebra; 2013.
Katyal S. Legal alternatives to combat the wildlife trafficking crisis; 2014.
Harbin RS, Manos CL. Poaching and wildlife conservation: A natural law analysis; 2019.
Gascoigne WR, et al. Designing a suite of sustainable development goals that address the drivers of biodiversity loss; 2016.
CITES. "CoP18 Prop. 11: Actions to combat illegal trade in cheetahs and parts and derivatives thereof; 2019.
Burns PA, et al. Global review of the outcomes of relevant CITES CoPs on species that are at risk from illegal trade; 2018.
Baker DJ, et al. Potential impacts of illegal trade in wildlife in the tropics; 2018.
Brodie JF, Maron M. Road ecology in environmental impact assessment; 2018.
Cardillo M. "CITES: Protecting endangered species and their ecosystems."mCITES (2016). "Illicit trade in rhinoceros horns; 2019.
Chaber AL, et al. The legal and illegal trade in Galapagos land iguanas; 2019.
Cheung C, et al. Evaluation of enforcement‐based strategies for recovery of a critically endangered bird; 2018.
Chien LH, et al. Pangolin: A challenge in understanding a neglected wildlife species; 2016.
Ciuti S, et al. A ’death spiral’ for capercaillie in Scotland; 2019.
Coles RS. Exploring the trade in farmed rhinoceros horn; 2017.
D’Cruze N, et al. Asian market for bear bile: implications for conservation; 2018.
Cunningham AB. Market dynamics of the ’rhino horn trade’ from southern Africa to Asia; 2018.
Dobson ADM, et al. Over 100,000 elephants killed for their ivory in a decade; 2019.
Gao Y, Li W. Progress in China’s tiger and leopard CITES implementation; 2016.
Mathew M, Yadav J, Shrivastava G, Sharma A. A quick run through the scenario of wildlife crimes in India.
Mathew M, V. JAK. ”Forensic Entomological Importance of “Hairy Maggot Blowfly”: A study in reference to Kerala, India. Uttar Pradesh J Zool. 2023;44(20):6-11.
Mathew M. Unearthing nature’s cleanup crew: A comprehensive review of beetle succession on vertebrate corpses. Uttar Pradesh J Zool. 2023;44(21):101-6.
Chaturvedi AN, Yadav SK. Wildlife forensics in India: a review. J Forensic Res. 2016;7(5):1000341.
Sharma S. Wildlife forensics in India: current status and future prospects. Forensic Sci Int Rep. 2018;1:100011.
Singh HS, Sharma A. Wildlife forensics in India: A comprehensive review. Forensic Sci Int. 2013;231(1-3):295-301.
Bhatta TR, Rawat GS. Forensic DNA profiling in wildlife: a review. J Environ Manag. 2017;188:160-73.
Vashishtha A. Wildlife crime and forensic science in India: A critical appraisal. Int J Leg Criminol Crim Justice. 2019;7(4):28-39.
Dubey B, Yadav SP. Wildlife forensics in India: an overview. Indian J Forensic Med Pathol. 2015;8(2):151-4.
Verma A, Sharma A. Wildlife forensic science in India: A case study. Int J Sci Res. 2016;5(1):464-6.
Karikalan L, Mohanty SP. Wildlife forensics: an overview of forensic techniques used in wildlife crime investigation. Int J Wildl Res. 2014;4(1):1-6.
Gupta A, Karikalan L. Role of wildlife forensics in India. Indian J Anim Res. 2017;51(6):1145-50.
Bist V, Panda S. Wildlife forensic science in India: an emerging discipline. Int J Recent Adv Multidiscip Res. 2018;5(4):317-20.
Singh SK, et al. Wildlife forensics in India: A tool for biodiversity conservation. In S. K. Gupta & R. N. Kharwar (Eds.), Advances in endophytic research. Springer. 2015;231-246.
Sharma R, et al. Wildlife forensic science and its role in Indian conservation. J Vet Sci Anim Husbandry. 2019;7(4):401.
Verma S, Rawat GS. Wildlife forensics: the science of poaching. J Forensic Res Suppl. 2013;12(001).
Choudhary NK, Shrivastav AB. Forensic examination of wildlife material in India: past, present, and future. Int J Legal Med. 2018;132(5):1355-63.
Mukesh M, Mishra S. Role of wildlife forensics in biodiversity conservation in India. Int J Environ Sci Technol. 2015;2(5):145-51.
Allison MJ. Wildlife forensic science: a review of genetic and molecular approaches. Forensic Sci Int. 2007;165(2-3):195-205.
Barratt EM, King TM. Wildlife forensic science: A UK perspective. In N. R. Laver & A. C. Duffy (Eds.), Conservation Forensics. Springer. 2019;7-25.
Becker PA, Wille M. Wildlife forensic science in conservation biology: an introduction. Conserv Genet. 2013;14(1):1-10.
Briones V, Veríssimo D. Improving biodiversity conservation through traditional animal tracking knowledge: integrating academic and nonacademic knowledge. Biodivers Conserv. 2017; 26(11):2583-605.
Bromfield D, Paterson L. DNA-based forensic wildlife identification from fantasy to feasibility? Investig Genet. 2011;2(1):18.
Byard RW, Eitzen DA. Forensic entomology and wildlife crime scene investigation. In D. O. Carter & J. F. Tomberlin (Eds.), Forensic entomology: The utility of arthropods in legal investigations (2014; 2nd ed.:439-457). CRC Press.
Callen J. Using DNA barcoding and environmental DNA to identify species in wildlife crimes. In A. Linacre (Ed.), Wildlife DNA analysis: Applications in forensic science. Royal Society of Chemistry. 2016; 155-170.
Chevreux B. Forensic wildlife DNA. J Forensic Sci. 2007;52(3):546-50.
Clark JD, Rutherford DA. Introduction to wildlife management: the principles of wildlife science. Waveland Press; 2008.
Duffy A. Forensic science as conservation science: the role of wildlife forensics. Biodivers Conserv. 2015;24(7):1547-60.
Eaton MJ, Meyers GL. Applied wildlife DNA: forensics and conservation. Wiley; 2012.
Erhardt RJ, Bourguignon LY. Wildlife forensics and the conservation of nature. J Forensic Sci. 2016;61(2):252-61.
Fisher J, Franklin J. Wildlife forensics: an Australian perspective. In: Verdonck MA, editor. Wildlife forensics: methods and applications. Wiley; 2015. p. 65-83.
Goyal SP, Bhatnagar YV. Forensic wildlife genetics: a review of wildlife forensics in India. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2018;35:35-47.
Johnson RN, et al. Detection of Queensland fruit fly in the Torres Strait using environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling. In M. A. Verdonck (Ed.), Wildlife forensics: Methods and Applications. 2015; 173-185. Wiley.
Johnson RN, et al. Detection of eastern barred bandicoots (Perameles gunnii) in scats using environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling. Wildl Res. 2019;46(7):629-37.
Kitchener AC, Zvirzdin DL. Wildlife forensics: species identification from the law enforcement perspective. In: Petney TN, Andrews RH, editors. Ticks: biology, disease and control. Cambridge University Press. 2014;413-30.
Kjoss VA, Vass AA. A review of the current status of wildlife forensic science in the United States. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2016;21:27-33.
Levine KF, Banks CS. Wildlife forensic science in Canada. In A. Linacre (Ed.), Wildlife DNA analysis: Applications in forensic science. Royal Society of Chemistry. 2016;81-90.
Linacre A, Gusmão L. DNA in forensic science: theory, techniques and applications. Wiley; 2013.
Harper CK. Poaching forensics: animal victims in the courtroom. Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2023;11:269-86.
Abstract View: 73 times
PDF Download: 5 times