Animal Investigators: How the World's First Wildlife Forensics Lab Is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 7, 2009 - Nature - 256 pages
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Inside the Clark R. Bavin U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory lies a rarely seen world, a CSI for wildlife, where a walk-in freezer contains carcasses and animal parts awaiting necropsies (animal autopsies); shelves and drawers hold pills, rugs, carvings, and countless other products made from parts of endangered animals; and a dedicated group of forensic scientists is responsible for victims from thirty thousand animal species.

Accomplished environmental journalist Laurel A. Neme goes behind the scenes at the wildlife forensics lab -- the only crime lab of its kind -- to reveal how its forensic scientists and the agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to investigate wildlife crimes, protect endangered species, and stem illegal wildlife trafficking, the third largest illegal trade in the world.

In three fascinating cases -- headless walrus washed up on the shores of Alaska, black bears killed for the healing powers of their gallbladders, and gorgeous feathered headdresses secretly shipped to the United States from the Amazon -- Neme traces the USFWS's daring undercover investigations and how the scientists' innovative forensic techniques provide conclusive evidence of a crime. Throughout, she underscores the staggering international scope of the supply and demand for wildlife and animal parts.

Filled with the suspense and thrilling detail of a crime novel yet driven by the all-too-real drama of a small band of scientists and investigators battling a lucrative, high-stakes underground industry, Animal Investigators is an engrossing account of crime and cutting-edge science.
 

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User Review  - stuart10er - LibraryThing

A book showing the creation of the first US forensics lab for animal related crimes. The author is a former scientist at the facility in Oregon who writes of three different cases. One, a walrus ... Read full review

Contents

Chapter One Native Alaskan Subsistence Hunting
1
Chapter Two Walrus Forensic Investigation
17
Chapter Three Native Alaskan Solutions to Walrus Headhunting
47
Chapter Seven The Feather Artifacts
131
Chapter Eight FlybyNight Evidence
153
Chapter Nine Buyer Beware
171
Chapter Ten Conclusion
191
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About the author (2009)

Laurel Neme has camped in the Kalahari, searched for peregrine falcons in the Arctic, and gotten lost in the Amazon jungle with the Brazilian Federal Police, all in pursuit of knowledge and a good story. She often uncovers true animal tales, like this one, that strike her funny bone while providing insights into a species. She is a contributor to National Geographic and author of ANIMAL INVESTIGATORS.Orangutan Houdini is her first book for children.

For over 30 years Richard Leakey has made international headlines for his work in Kenya. He has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific articles and books, including "The Origin of Humankind", "Origins Reconsidered", and "The Sixth Extinction.

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