On February 15-16, wildlife forensics experts from NOAA, the Society for Wildlife Forensic Sciences, and other agencies will convene in Charleston, South Carolina for the inaugural meeting of the Scientific Working Group for Wildlife Forensics.
Commerce in illegal wildlife runs well into the hundreds of billions of dollars per year and could be the third-largest black market after drugs and weapons. The trade includes deliberately mislabeled seafood, unlawful fishing practices, and poaching of endangered exotic species.
A 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences criticized certain forensics premises and techniques as scientifically unreliable. While the report focused on human forensics, wildlife forensics experts were concerned that the findings might undercut their testimony in criminal and civil trials. As a result, they have teamed up to set newbest practices meant to bolster the credibility of scientific evidence presented in courts of law.
NOAA and Partners Prepare to 'Raise the Bar' in Wildlife Forensics (National Ocean Service)
NOAA Raises the Bar in Wildlife Forensics (Forensics Magazine)