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VME 6570 – Wildlife Conservation and Forensic Science

  • VME 6570 CREDITS: 3

    Students completing this course will have an understanding of the fundamental concepts of animal conservation and protection. The course will also address the applicability and importance of forensic science in wildlife investigations, including an introduction to the scientific and forensic method, crime scene analysis and processing, types of evidence, evidence collection, and field analyses.


    Module Topic
    Week 1 Introduction to Wildlife Conservation and Protection
    Conservation and Forensic Terminology
    Using Forensic Science in Cases of Wildlife Crime
    Introduction to Taxonomic Identification
    Introduction to Species Identification
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 2 Wildlife Management
    Federal vs. State Law
    Division of Natural Resources
    Endangered Species Act
    Research Project Assigned
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 3

    International Law
    Endangered vs. Threatened Species
    Discussion Questions/Project

    Week 4 Conservation Organizations
    US Fish & Wildlife Service/SWIGWILD
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 5 Current Wildlife Conservation Issues and Trends
    Animal “Ownership”
    International Trade
    Native vs. Non-native Species
    Habitat Loss
    Exotic Pet Trade
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 6 Poaching
    Species of Concern
    Relevant Case Studies
    Discussion Questions/Project

    Week 7

    Social and Ethical Considerations
    The “Right” of Society to Govern Wildlife
    Societal Opinions
    Religious Beliefs and Practices
    Review Session
    Discussion Questions
    Week 8 Midterm Exam
    Week 9 Introduction to Wildlife Forensics
    What is Forensic Science?
    History of Forensic Science
    Branches of Forensic Science & Their Usefulness to Investigations of Wildlife Crime
    Relevant Case Studies
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 10 Crime Scene Analysis
    Field Techniques
    Photographic Evidence
    Scene Documentation
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 11 Physical Evidence
    Chain of Custody
    Evidence Analysis
    Live Animal Examinations
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 12 DNA and Molecular Analysis
    Genetic Methodologies
    Current Trends in Wildlife Evidence Analysis
    Ongoing Research
    DNA Case Studies
    Discussion Questions/Project
    Week 13 Prosecution
    Courtroom Considerations
    Strengths of and Challenges to Wildlife Forensics
    Looking to the Future
    Review Session
    Discussion Questions/Project (6 pts.)
    Week 14 Final Exam/Research Project Due

    At a Glance

    Key Dates