Wildlife Forensics: A New Approach to Species Conservation and Preservation

In 1989, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon. The mission of the laboratory is to provide forensic support to law enforcement investigations at the federal, state, and international levels. The primary difficulty is that commonly accepted species-defining characteristics are often not present on wildlife parts and products seized by wildlife law enforcement officers and submitted to the lab as evidence. Thus one of the primary goals of the lab is to research, develop, and verify new species-defining characteristics that will enable the lab staff to make positive species-source identifications of the submitted evidence and to testify to those identifications in a court of law.

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