Wildlife crime battle to benefit from more forensic science

Written by Tom Freeman on 7 June 2017 in News

International Society for Wildlife Forensic Science’s symposium to be held in Edinburgh

Golden eagle poisoning - credit RSPB

A new wildlife forensics programme at the University of Edinburgh will support wildlife crime investigations in Scotland.

The new partnership will create formal ties between the Scottish Government’s Wildlife DNA Forensics unit and the university’s research unit at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies and the Roslin Institute.

The move follows a number of unlawful killings of birds of prey in Scotland, including a case where video evidence against two gamekeepers was deemed inadmissable by the Crown Office.


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The partnership will be announced today by Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham at The Society for Wildlife Forensic Science’s symposium, which is being held in Edinburgh.

It is the first time the event has been held outside the USA.

“As hosts to the UK’s only dedicated wildlife DNA forensics lab, Scotland is leading the way when it comes to using forensic science to shape wildlife law enforcement," she said.

"Forensics can provide evidence that an offence has been committed and plays an important role investigating trade routes and poaching."

Dr Rob Ogden, President of the Society for Wildlife Forensic Science, said: “The fight against wildlife crime in all its forms requires coordinated efforts from multiple partners to reduce incentives and demand, and to investigate and prosecute criminal activity. Forensic science has revolutionised criminal investigations and is now being employed to help protect some of the worlds most threatened species from persecution and illegal trade."

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