Wildlife Forensics As A Wildlife Conservation

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Wildlife forensics is a relatively modern field of science. It involves the application of forensic sciences to solve crimes relating to wildlife. Wildlife forensics uses scientific procedures to investigate and solve wildlife-related crimes such as poaching, exotic pet trades, illegal hunting and even oil spills. Wildlife forensics, as said before, is a relatively new field of both general and forensic sciences. Its objectives are to use scientific procedures to examine, identify, and compare evidence from crime scenes, and to link this evidence with a suspect and a victim, which is specifically an animal. The killing of wild animals which are protected by laws is called poaching. It is an example of one among the many serious crimes that are investigated by wildlife forensic scientists. There are many more examples of wildlife crime such as the buying and selling of products made from animals that are safeguarded by laws and even the buying and selling of these protected animals themselves.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international organization that oversees trade in wild animals and plants. It was established in 1963 and, as of 2018, consists of 183 member countries. Wildlife conservation is incredibly important as wildlife plays a crucial role in balancing the environment and is an essential part of nature. Wildlife crime, no matter the degree of severity, is very dangerous to conservation or preservation of species. Poaching, exotic species trade, species persecution and any other illegal exploitation of animal and plants is a major blow to the continued protection of wildlife. Wildlife crime is a major, billion-dollar threat that spans countries and continents. In fact, it follows closely behind drugs and arms trafficking and trafficking in humans. Although the seriousness of the issue is massive, relatively few resources are present to combat it.

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Countries that are facing environmental or wildlife crime related problems often do not possess the resources or manpower in terms of law enforcement officials, conservation officers or rangers to act as a damper. Poachers are using increasingly sophisticated or cunning tactics and strategies which are often financed in many cases by corrupt organizations. There is also the issue of funding for many poor countries. Many also lack the knowledge or awareness as to what is required or necessary in terms of investigatory process and even the issues concerning wildlife crime itself. Countries with satisfactory financial funding, personnel and support often experience their own problems. The lack of experience and comprehension regarding the proper ways to research, analyze and document these crimes and how to present the cases in court often stems from the fact that that wildlife forensics is a relatively new field but in any case is a major drawback for it. The use of forensic science to help solve wildlife investigations is a fairly recent practice but one that is gaining a lot of traction, especially in areas with meagre resources. Due to recent discoveries and research into the utilitarianism of DNA in wildlife-crime cases, forensics has become the vanguard of natural resource exploitation and regulation. Forensics is no longer a science confined to just human crime; it is now applied to wildlife and environmental illegalities as well.

Wildlife Forensics can also be defined as the implementation of science to legal concerns that involve all biological resources. Forensic science is very useful in this field as it plays an essential role in the types of investigations that involve having to track and identify criminals by using evidentiary analysis. It could be DNA, trace evidence such as hair or feathers, animals tracks, imported or exported animals species, traded goods made of animalsor simply anything that can be considered as proper and demonstrable evidence.

These items are often ignored or overlooked and even improperly assessed. Such handling of evidence will not stand in courts as they are demanding more and more irrefutable evidence.

Proper education and instruction in how to process a crime scene, how to recognize important case factors and what to do with an evidence once identified are necessary for the importance of justice in wildlife cases. Many as said before, only have limited training and experience as this is a relatively new field. It is vital for people who have the responsibility of defending nature to be armed with knowledge. It is integral to the conservation and preservation of the environment, biodiversity and resource sustainability. Although the use of forensics in wildlife and environmental crime isn’t the only answer, it is an essential weapon in the arsenal of species protection. The survival and intrinsic value of our environment and ecosystem may depend upon it.

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