Laurel A. Neme, PhD / Scribner / 230 pages
In her new book, Animal Investigators: How the World’s First Wildlife Forensics Lab is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species, Laurel Neme, PhD, tells the true story of a group of scientists who are the backbone of efforts to combat wildlife crime.
Working with the dedicated agents of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, these investigators use forensic science to provide the proof needed to arrest and prosecute those whose greed and callousness are threatening the biodiversity of this planet.
If you enjoy a good detective novel or the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, you will be captivated by the wildlife crime mysteries explored in Animal Investigators. From the wasteful killing of walruses for their ivory tusks, to the killing of black bears to access their gall bladders, to the slaughter of animals in Brazil to adorn artifacts with their parts, Animal Investigators uses these real cases to explore the world of wildlife crime.
Far from a stodgy treatise on wildlife investigation criminal techniques, this book is a suspenseful page-turner documenting the illicit wildlife trade. While highlighting the trials and successes of the lab’s scientists, Neme describes case histories, identifies the victims, profiles those involved and those trying to catch them, and describes the aftermath of each case.
The book provides a stark wake-up call on the real threats posed by the illegal wildlife trade, and depicts the complicated and tedious work done by the scientists and wildlife law enforcement officers who investigate, capture and prosecute those responsible for such crimes.
Unfortunately, this trade is burgeoning, due to substantial profits to be gained, a low risk of being apprehended, and nominal punishments when caught. It’s often left up to the understaffed, overworked and under-equipped wildlife law enforcement agencies and forensic scientists to take down traffickers.
Animal Investigators is a fast-paced and factual wildlife whodunit that is a must-read for anyone concerned about wildlife conservation.