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What is it vs Who did it? A review of the lack of human focused forensic evidence in the context of wildlife crime

Thomas, A, Gibson, L, McColl, S, Rae, R, Ogden, R and Dawnay, N (2023) What is it vs Who did it? A review of the lack of human focused forensic evidence in the context of wildlife crime. Forensic Science International: Animals and Environments, 4. ISSN 2666-9374

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Wildlife crime suffers from low prosecution and conviction rates, with a lack of evidence and resources cited as hurdles to enforcement. Forensic evidence is used in human-on-human crimes to identify perpetrators and link individuals to criminal activity. Forensics approaches in the context of wildlife crime are heavily focused on non-human evidence using DNA barcoding to establish species and geographical origins. In human-on-human crime fingermarks and DNA profiling are two of the most recognisable forensic evidence types, both with significant global infrastructure, which contribute to prosecutions and convictions. Wildlife products can be the only physical evidence type available in a wildlife crime but attempts to recover human forensic evidence from them is a relatively unexplored area. The research that does exist demonstrates fingermark and touch DNA evidence can be collected in many contexts from several different species. Despite this there has been only one report of utilisation of this type human evidence recovery in wildlife case work. Failure to consider all potential evidence types has a negative impact on wildlife crime investigations. There is a need to experimentally assess the benefits and limitations associated with the collection of human evidence from wildlife items. This article introduces key factors that affect the recovery of human fingermarks and touch DNA evidence before focussing on the limited number of instances where these methods have been applied to wildlife forensic research and what considerations should be taken when developing further work in this field.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2023 13:33
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2023 10:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.fsiae.2023.100073
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21698
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