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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-26

Dealing wildlife offences in India: Role of the hair as physical evidence

1 Wildlife Forensic Laboratory, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradoon - 248 001, India
2 Amity Institute of Advanced Forensic Science Research and Training, Noida, India
3 Wildlife Biology Laboratory, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradoon - 248 001, India

Correspondence Address:
Vivek Sahajpal
Wildlife Forensic Laboratory, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradoon - 248 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7753.51928

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India is known for its rich biodiversity, with a wide variety of wild floral and faunal species. This wildlife treasure of ours faces the threat of extinction due to rampant poaching and illegal trade. With most of the wildlife offence cases related to mammals having hair as physical evidence, it becomes imperative to use this evidence in the best possible way for wildlife crime investigation. We discuss the value of hair evidence with special reference to species characterization/identification using microscopic hair characteristics, keratin patterns, and mitochondrial DNA typing. The relevance of the techniques with respect to Indian scenario is specially taken care of and microscopic hair characteristics of one of the highly endangered species along with its keratin pattern are described. Finally, the use of mitochondrial DNA for species identification is also discussed.

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