Analysis of suspected wildlife crimes submitted for forensic examinations in Scotland

C Millins, F Howie, C Everitt, M Shand, C Lamm

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7 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes the occurrence of suspected wildlife crimes submitted for forensic examination in Scotland in 2010. The study aims were to determine which types of crimes were committed, which species were targeted, and the outcome of investigations, in order to assess the contribution of forensic examinations in the prosecution of wildlife crimes. Information on suspected wildlife crimes submitted between January 1 and December 31, 2010 to the SAC Consulting: Veterinary Services Disease Surveillance Centers, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture, and to the University of Glasgow, was used. The location of suspected crimes, the species targeted, cause of death, and types of the 188 submitted wildlife crimes were summarized. More information regarding cases involving birds were submitted than cases involving mammals, and included 114 raptors, 14 waterfowl, and 22 "other bird species." Mammal cases (n = 38) included 12 badgers, 8 foxes, 7 deer, 4 hares, and 7 "other mammals." The cause of death was determined in 124 suspected crimes; malicious or accidental trauma was the most likely cause of death in 72, and 33 were poisoned. Forensic evidence supporting criminal activity was found in 53 cases, and poisoning was the most frequent crime recorded. At least five individuals were successfully prosecuted, representing 2.7 % of submissions. It was challenging to track cases from submission through to prosecution and laboratories conducting forensic investigations were often not informed of the outcome of prosecutions or court decisions. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 2014

Bibliographical note

Cited By :4

Export Date: 14 April 2019

Correspondence Address: Millins, C.; Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Graham Kerr Building, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, United Kingdom; email:

Funding details: Scottish Government

Funding details: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Funding text 1: Acknowledgments Thank you to Elizabeth Sharpe, SASA for providing toxicology data. Sarah Stoner from the National Wildlife Crime Unit for assisting with many queries to do with the project. Thanks also to Bob Elliot, RSPB, and Chief Superintendant Mike Flynn, SSPCA, who assisted with follow up on cases submitted by their respective agencies. Thank you to Ted Leighton for comments on the manuscript. Project funding was provided by the Partnership for Wildlife Crime Scotland (PAWS) and Caroline Millins was supported by a PhD studentship from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Laboratory Council (BBSRC). SAC Consulting: Veterinary Services receives financial support from the Scottish Government for farm animal disease surveillance activities.


  • Forensic examination
  • Poisoning
  • Scotland
  • Wildlife crime


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