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

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  11 reviews
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 s ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Scribner (first published 2009)
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I really expected this to be a different book than it turned out to be. One of our zoo pathologists is leaving to go work at the FWS Wildlife Forensics lab in Oregon. She's awesome, and I'd heard wonderfully interesting things about the lab itself. I picked up this book hoping to get an overview of the lab, perhaps some its history and highlights.

Instead, this book is a very detailed look at three very specific cases the lab has handled: walrus tusks, black bear gallbladders and bird feathers.
"MacGyver" was one of my favorite shows while I was growing up. I watched reruns every evening on the USA network and tuned in to the new episodes on Monday nights. I loved the show so much, in fact, that when I got a dog in eighth grade, I named him MacGyver.

But there was one episode that I refused to watch: "Black Rhino." From commercials for it, I knew it was about poaching, the killing of rhinoceroses for their ivory horns. I couldn't bear to watch even the fictitious murder of an innocent,
David Bales
Brilliant book about forensic investigators who work in identification of endangered species for law enforcement and the U.S. and Canadian fish and wildlife services in three major investigations concerning, 1) the illegal killing of walrus in remote parts of Alaska strictly for their ivory, 2) the illegal killing of black bears for their gallbladders, (used in Oriental medicine) and 3) parts of endangered birds and migratory birds, such as feathers and other Amazonian animals like jaguars. The ...more
Thoughtfully constructed and filled with detail, this book reviews several cases of illegal wildlife trafficking. Each section proceeds like a mystery story where a crime is identified, evidence is presented and the perpetrators are arrested and tried. Yet each incidence of animal taking is not always a clear case of criminal activity. The author provides the context of indigenous populations and the importance of their ritual and cultural rights. Complex and compelling, this book is well worth ...more
This was an interesting account of what goes into forensic investigations in wildlife crimes. Neme does a good job of describing the processes employed and explaining their purposes. The writing is a tad repetative at times (if you had a dollar for every time the author describes the difference between elephant and mammoth ivory, you could buy another copy of the book) but overall the writing is well done. I recommend it for anyone interested in nature or interested in forensics and law enforcem ...more
The usefulness of this book is found more in its conciseness and breadth as an overview than as an in-depth exploration of animal trafficking and the fight against it. Some of this material will be familiar, but the reminder is welcome. The problem is out there but so is the will to fight it.

Regrettably, the actual lab procedures aren't explained in any great detail. That's disappointing, since that was the book's titular intention. This was a good starting point but not much more.
Favorite parts were the descriptions of the lab's work & the process of figuring out the science, not so much the thriller/investigative part. A little uneven in the writing-one moment it's general and sweeping and the next it is very detailed and a specific time. Also a little redundant. Great stories/cases. And nice to have the introduction about the lab, the descriptions of the laws, and the footnotes. The Lab comes off as very impressive!
Stuart Lutzenhiser
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 hunting crime in Alaska, then a Bear gall bladder hunting crime and a rare bird species in Brazil. Very technical at time and quite graphic, but very interesting and educational.
the different cases were nice but there was two much other information that was not need in the different stories that cause confusion when reading. the book covers a few cases that the wildlife forensics lad encounters and follows a first person account of the cases.
Very interesting. Given the level of animal exploitation, it makes you wonder if man will soon be the only "animal" on the planet.
Rachel Bayles
Fascinating science and stories about a little known part of the fight against environmental crime.
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