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Wildlife Forensic Academy
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Forensic Science

increasing role of Forensic science

The legalization of society is increasingly becoming a site of contestation as conflicting interests continue to develop. Disputes are increasingly being explored through judicial intervention, in trying to determine the boundary between human rights – which vary from nation to nation – and the stance on animal rights, environmental rights or wildlife trade.

These disputes have an impact on local communities and the environment. Environmental exploitation, abuse and pollution – which is linked to climate change and human-inflicted damage – is also becoming a hot topic among younger generations, as awareness increases.

This awareness is driving a more formalized and standard approach by which stakeholders, governments and citizens may recognize and report crimes to the authorities. Improved training methodologies are helping to understand crime scenes, increase prosecution levels and use technology to develop databases and act proactively using forensic evidence!

In many cases, the specifics of a crime are not understood. The crime scene is entered and disrupted, with evidence being inadvertently altered due to the lack of forensic exploration. This leads to poor evidence and, in many cases, criminals and syndicates escape prosecution and invariably increasing the levels of crime.

It must be understood that in most cases poaching is linked to organised crime. Using forensic evidence to bolster a criminal case can help combat poaching, due to increased prosecution levels, subsequent financial chain disruptions and thus reduced repetitive crimes.

Forensic_Science_Lab investigates a shell casing
a scientist studies a blood sample

Forensic Science:
The missing link in the combat against animal crime

In recent years, forensic science has attracted attention both on the small screen and in the real world. Hit shows like CSI and Bones garner record ratings, but television has only begun to scratch the surface of a rich and complex field.

When it comes to cases of life and death, objective evidence is crucial. While key evidence in criminal cases may have come from witnesses or other subjective means in the past, forensic science allows for objective evidence. That means that forensic evidence, based as it is on the scientific method, is considered more reliable than eyewitness testimony. In a judicial system which maintains that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, evidence gathered by forensic scientists is now regularly used by both the defense and the prosecution in many court cases.

Wildlife Forensics

The killing, poaching or abuse of animals happens in many case in remote areas or in hidden places. Due to this there are never witness statements! We only can solve these case with forensic evidence. That’s why we have to mobilize forensic knowledge and techniques.

Forensics use cases on the rise

In many disciplines related to conservation, forensics plays an increasing role to secure a sustainable future. Wildlife poachers, damage to the environment and even the mistreatment of animals has in some countries a legal recourse and needs forensic evidence and knowledge support.

Forensic investigation is based on the physical evidence from the crime scene such as: human traces, non-human traces, chemical traces, physical traces and digital traces. 

We are able to detect, collect and analyse these traces to solve and prevent crime. Technology, education and standardization combined with communication and authorities working with a common goal is fast-tracking the need for forensics as a fundamental skill set for a number of industries. With forensic knowledge we can:

Bring perpetrators to justice
Prevent the killing or abuse of animals
Ensure the guarding of a fair trial

Wildlife Forensic knowledge and awareness is a must for wildlife forensics students, wildlife veterinary students, conservation students, and ecology students.

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To apply at the Academy, or for further information of any kind please contact:

Andro Vos
andro.vos@wildlifeforensicacademy.co.za

Greg Simpson
greg.simpson@wildlifeforensicacademy.co.za

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