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Scientific Working Group Strengthens Wildlife Forensic Science

Until recently, wildlife forensic scientists had no national standards of practice, despite increased calls for academic rigor in the forensic sciences. In mid-February the Scientific Working Group for Wildlife Forensics (SWGWILD) released draft documents for public comment which are aimed at improving wildlife forensic science.

SWGWILD released the first consensus standards and guidelines for practitioners of wildlife forensics as well as a framework for certification of practitioners. These standards and guidelines will improve the quality of science used in investigating and prosecuting natural resource crimes.  The certification program will assure that practicing scientists are well-trained, meet the new standards, and qualify as expert witnesses in court.

NOAA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal and state agencies often rely on forensic science to safeguard the nation’s natural resources and to protect consumers from seafood fraud.  Two NCCOS scientists serve as SWGWILD members, one of whom is the current chairperson.

We welcome comment on the Standards and Guidelines, Certification Scheme, or Certification Policies and Procedures at our website.

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