Antipoaching Communication news

Forensics in wildlife crime cases – a manual

3 April 2023
Veterinary University Vienna

The manual on wildlife forensics “Principles, techniques, methods and practical recommendations to combat the illegal killing of wild animals” is now also available in German thanks to the translation of the English original as part of the LIFE WolfAlps EU project.

Contrary to prevailing assumptions, the illegal killing of endangered wildlife is not only a problem in developing countries, but also occurs in Europe and in the Alpine region. Located in the heart of Europe, the Alpine region is a refuge for many animal species. However, it is also a partly densely populated area and is heavily used for recreational purposes as well as a main artery for continental traffic, which often limits the exchange between animal populations due to the lack of suitable corridors. At the same time, the diverse use of the landscape creates conflicts of interest between the various actors such as landowners and land users, so that illegal killings of some highly endangered animal species occur time and again. Especially large predators such as bears, wolves and lynxes, as well as birds of prey, are endangered. These incidents are in contrast to the numerous conservation efforts and programmes of regional authorities and organisations to create viable populations of these species.

Forensics in wildlife crime cases - a manual - Life Wolfalps EU
Cover of the handbook around the topic of forensics in wildlife crime (c) Vetmeduni Vienna

This manual was originally produced in English in 2019 as part of the European Union funded Alpine Space Programme entitled “ALPBIONET2030 – Integrative Alpine Wildlife and Habitat Management for the Next Generation”. While the English version was well received at an international level, authorities like the Austrian police force, institutions and organization like administrations of national parks or environmental NGOs always wished for a German translation, so that they would be able to distribute the compiled information even further. The framework of the LIFE WolfAlps EU project finally enabled this important translation and has been very well received by the authorities.

The manual aims to compile harmonised standard operating procedures for forensic methods in (suspected) wildlife crime cases. It is aimed at all authorities, persons, organisations, etc. dealing with wildlife crime cases and covers the entire process from finding a dead animal to prosecution in court. We hope that the manual ” Basic Principles, Techniques, Methods and Practical Recommendations for Combating the Illegal Killing of Wildlife ” will help in the fight against illegal killing of wildlife by presenting the basic facts and information as well as practical recommendations for the entire forensic process and investigations.

Download the German and English version HERE (PDF)