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Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2014 Sep;10(3):357-62. doi: 10.1007/s12024-014-9568-1. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Analysis of suspected wildlife crimes submitted for forensic examinations in Scotland.

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Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Room 411, Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK,


This study describes the occurrence of suspected wildlife crimes submitted for forensic examination in Scotland in 2010. The study aims were to determine which types of crimes were committed, which species were targeted, and the outcome of investigations, in order to assess the contribution of forensic examinations in the prosecution of wildlife crimes. Information on suspected wildlife crimes submitted between January 1 and December 31, 2010 to the SAC Consulting: Veterinary Services Disease Surveillance Centers, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture, and to the University of Glasgow, was used. The location of suspected crimes, the species targeted, cause of death, and types of the 188 submitted wildlife crimes were summarized. More information regarding cases involving birds were submitted than cases involving mammals, and included 114 raptors, 14 waterfowl, and 22 "other bird species." Mammal cases (n = 38) included 12 badgers, 8 foxes, 7 deer, 4 hares, and 7 "other mammals." The cause of death was determined in 124 suspected crimes; malicious or accidental trauma was the most likely cause of death in 72, and 33 were poisoned. Forensic evidence supporting criminal activity was found in 53 cases, and poisoning was the most frequent crime recorded. At least five individuals were successfully prosecuted, representing 2.7 % of submissions. It was challenging to track cases from submission through to prosecution and laboratories conducting forensic investigations were often not informed of the outcome of prosecutions or court decisions.

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