The case for wildlife

Change is inevitable.

So is extinction.  It is the rate of extinction that is concerning many scientists.  The fossil record demonstrates that the planet losses between 10 and 100 species per year to extinction.  However, we are now at a time when the Earth is losing up to 27,000 species per year due to habitat destruction alone.  Their has been 89 mammalian species within the past 400 years.  This is nearly 45 times the predicted rate based on fossil records.  Many scientists believe that almost 30 percent of the world’s animal and plant species could be extinct within 100 years.  Certainly, extinction is not random.  Some species are more at risk that others.  Human alteration of the landscape puts most species at risk.  However, hunting, poaching, and other forms of illegal take put many species at risk.  For these species, the forensic sciences may offer some form of hope in insuring survival.

Rarely are cases of wildlife poaching examined in-depth from a forensic science and medicine perspective.  Members of the IVFSA are in a rare position to network, educate and provide services for cases of illegal take of wildlife.  However, many are focused on companion animal and livestock case work.  As forensic science and veterinary medical professionals, members of the IVFSA who are not involved in wildlife conservation issues should cultivate extensive relationships with conservation officers, and other veterinary medical professionals involved in the tireless campaign to protect wildlife.  The membership of the IVFSA has specific knowledge and extensive talent that could be of immense benefit to investigators of wildlife crime.  Likewise, our counterparts who are focused on wildlife conservation issues, and the crime that surrounds it, have much to teach us.  Working together, we can undoubtedly make a difference in the life span of entire species.

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