Course Introduction

FSP 503: Wildlife Forensics

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  • Curriculum
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March Batch 2024

Last Date to Register : 25th March 2024

The Wildlife Forensics Online Course by SIFS India is accurately designed to equip you with an understanding of the role of forensic investigation in conserving wildlife.

You will learn techniques to fight against wildlife crimes, prevent illegal trafficking of endangered species, combat poaching, study animal remains, and handle wildlife crime scenes.

All the pre-recorded sessions delivered by expert mentors will help you learn the intricacies of unfolding the stories hidden within wildlife criminal cases.

This course comprises three levels: Level 1 (certificate), Level 2 (diploma), and Level 3 (Post Graduate Diploma), and the entire curriculum is divided among these levels.

A few of the topics you will learn about are: significance of wildlife forensics, concept of ecology, causes of wildlife crimes, illegal trading of animals, types of wildlife crimes, safety measures while handling samples, types of specimen identification, collecting and preserving DNA evidence, forensic DNA analysis methods, endangered species management and the Act of 1973, managing wildlife protected areas, wildlife ecotourism, legal considerations, and wildlife conservation principles and laws.

So enroll now to become an accomplished wildlife forensic scientist and contribute to wildlife protection, conservation, and legal proceedings.

Course Benefits

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge about wildlife conservation, techniques to identify species, analyze wildlife products, and provide expert testimony. You can work with conservation organizations and wildlife authorities to minimize wildlife crime and ensure the protection of endangered species.

Course Outcome

Upon successful completion of this course, you will gain expertise to identify wildlife species, analyze illegal wildlife products, and contribute to the fight against wildlife crime. You will have deep practical knowledge about the principles of wildlife forensic science, species identification, and the legal and ethical aspects of wildlife crime investigation.

Course Highlights

- Pre-recorded sessions with a focus on wildlife forensic tools and techniques

- Expert faculty with working experience in wildlife forensics and conservation

- Industry-specific and comprehensive study material and reference books

- A wide community of wildlife forensic scientists and conservation experts

- Career expansion with professional networking opportunities

  • Level I : Wildlife Forensics

    MODULE 1 – WILDLIFE FORENSICS

    This module provides you with an overview of the field of wildlife forensic science, its historical significance, scope, and career prospects; the qualifications required to become a wildlife forensic scientist; the role wildlife forensic scientists play in preserving and protecting wildlife; the fundamental principles of wildlife forensic investigations; and the significance of this domain in addressing issues related to illegal wildlife activities.

    MODULE 2 – BASIC CONCEPT OF ECOLOGY

    In this module, you will learn about fundamental ecological concepts, the web of energy flow, nutrient cycling, and species diversity within ecosystems. The module further explores the concepts of population (highlighting the interconnected relationships that shape ecological systems), ecological succession (depicting the evolution of communities over time), the role of soil in supporting life, and the importance of ecological surveys to understand the complexities of natural environments.

    MODULE 3 – INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE CRIME

    This module explores wildlife crimes, their causes, and incidents involving wild animals. It also covers how wild animals can be both perpetrators (including their roles in incidents such as attacks on agriculture, predation, conflicts with livestock, deer and road traffic accidents, scavenging, and potential infectious hazards) and victims (illegal wildlife trade, exploitation for traditional medicine, and the challenges posed by keeping wild animals as pets). The module concludes with wild animals serving as sentinels, highlighting their role in indicating environmental health.

    MODULE 4 – TYPES OF WILDLIFE CRIME

    This module introduces you to various types of wildlife crimes, including hunting and poaching (pit poaching, electrocution, shooting, poisoning, trap and snare, and digging), international wildlife crime or smuggling examining the demand and supply factors related to products like elephant ivory, rhino horn, and tiger products, and the UK's specific demands. You will also learn about domestic wildlife crime, covering issues such as the illegal possession of pesticides affecting birds of prey, vicarious liability, and challenges posed by invasive non-native species, including prevention, eradication, and the need for a comprehensive strategy.

    MODULE 5 – MANAGEMENT OF WILDLIFE PROTECTED AREAS

    In this module, you will learn about habitat management, objectives and resource studies, analysis of the surrounding region, planning of boundaries and presentation of management zones within the ecosystem, and the crucial aspects of communication, staff, and visitor amenities that highlight their role in effective habitat management.

    The module also covers the concept of a management program, including the establishment of control, habitat and wildlife management strategies, and the intersection of tourism, finance, and wildlife in both managed and exploited forests. The module concludes with case histories from India, America, and Southeast Asia, providing valuable insights into the practical application of habitat management principles in varied contexts.

  • Level II : Wildlife Forensics

    MODULE 1 – WILDLIFE FORENSICS

    This module provides you with an overview of the field of wildlife forensic science, its historical significance, scope, and career prospects; the qualifications required to become a wildlife forensic scientist; the role wildlife forensic scientists play in preserving and protecting wildlife; the fundamental principles of wildlife forensic investigations; and the significance of this domain in addressing issues related to illegal wildlife activities.

    MODULE 2 – BASIC CONCEPT OF ECOLOGY

    In this module, you will learn about fundamental ecological concepts, the web of energy flow, nutrient cycling, and species diversity within ecosystems. The module further explores the concepts of population (highlighting the interconnected relationships that shape ecological systems), ecological succession (depicting the evolution of communities over time), the role of soil in supporting life, and the importance of ecological surveys to understand the complexities of natural environments.

    MODULE 3 – INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE CRIME

    This module explores wildlife crimes, their causes, and incidents involving wild animals. It also covers how wild animals can be both perpetrators (including their roles in incidents such as attacks on agriculture, predation, conflicts with livestock, deer and road traffic accidents, scavenging, and potential infectious hazards) and victims (illegal wildlife trade, exploitation for traditional medicine, and the challenges posed by keeping wild animals as pets). The module concludes with wild animals serving as sentinels, highlighting their role in indicating environmental health.

    MODULE 4 – TYPES OF WILDLIFE CRIME

    This module introduces you to various types of wildlife crimes, including hunting and poaching (pit poaching, electrocution, shooting, poisoning, trap and snare, and digging), international wildlife crime or smuggling examining the demand and supply factors related to products like elephant ivory, rhino horn, and tiger products, and the UK's specific demands. You will also learn about domestic wildlife crime, covering issues such as the illegal possession of pesticides affecting birds of prey, vicarious liability, and challenges posed by invasive non-native species, including prevention, eradication, and the need for a comprehensive strategy.

    MODULE 5 – CAPTURE AND HANDLING OF WILD ANIMALS

    In this module, you will learn about wildlife management techniques, the purpose and applications of various animal barriers (snares, pits, nets, live traps, rockets, net guns, mist nets, and stockades), and drug immobilization methods (use of pistols, rifles, jab sticks, blowpipes, crossbows, dart design, responses, side effects, drug actions, dosages, and safety measures, along with potential complications).

    The module also covers safety measures to follow while handling and transporting samples, the importance of individual identification through behavioral idiosyncrasies, passive marking collars, branding, rings, and dynamic marking techniques such as beta lights and radio-tracking harnesses.

    MODULE 6 – SPECIMEN IDENTIFICATION AND PROVENANCE

    This module covers the essential aspects of forensic biology related to plant and animal identification, including:

    Plant identification, emphasizing plant morphology, vegetative and flower characteristics, wood anatomy, and the relevance of traditional medicines

    Animal identification, covering animal morphology and the significance of museum services in preserving whole specimens, skeletons, skulls, horns, antlers, tusks (ivory), teeth, and other parts

    Additionally, the module highlights the concept of feather identification and the identification of bird eggs, providing an overview of techniques related to plant and animal specimens.

    MODULE 7 – MANAGEMENT OF WILDLIFE PROTECTED AREAS

    In this module, you will learn about habitat management, objectives and resource studies, analysis of the surrounding region, planning of boundaries and presentation of management zones within the ecosystem, and the crucial aspects of communication, staff, and visitor amenities that highlight their role in effective habitat management.

    The module also covers the concept of a management program, including the establishment of control, habitat and wildlife management strategies, and the intersection of tourism, finance, and wildlife in both managed and exploited forests. The module concludes with case histories from India, America, and Southeast Asia, providing valuable insights into the practical application of habitat management principles in varied contexts.

  • Level III : Wildlife Forensics

    MODULE 1 - WILDLIFE FORENSICS

    This module provides you with an overview of the field of wildlife forensic science, its historical significance, scope, and career prospects; the qualifications required to become a wildlife forensic scientist; the role wildlife forensic scientists play in preserving and protecting wildlife; the fundamental principles of wildlife forensic investigations; and the significance of this domain in addressing issues related to illegal wildlife activities.

    MODULE 2 - BASIC CONCEPT OF ECOLOGY

    In this module, you will learn about fundamental ecological concepts, the web of energy flow, nutrient cycling, and species diversity within ecosystems. The module further explores the concepts of population (highlighting the interconnected relationships that shape ecological systems), ecological succession (depicting the evolution of communities over time), the role of soil in supporting life, and the importance of ecological surveys to understand the complexities of natural environments.

    MODULE 3 - INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE CRIME

    This module explores wildlife crimes, their causes, and incidents involving wild animals. It also covers how wild animals can be both perpetrators (including their roles in incidents such as attacks on agriculture, predation, conflicts with livestock, deer and road traffic accidents, scavenging, and potential infectious hazards) and victims (illegal wildlife trade, exploitation for traditional medicine, and the challenges posed by keeping wild animals as pets). The module concludes with wild animals serving as sentinels, highlighting their role in indicating environmental health.

    MODULE 4 - TYPES OF WILDLIFE CRIMES

    This module introduces you to various types of wildlife crimes, including hunting and poaching (pit poaching, electrocution, shooting, poisoning, trap and snare, and digging), international wildlife crime or smuggling examining the demand and supply factors related to products like elephant ivory, rhino horn, and tiger products, and the UK's specific demands. You will also learn about domestic wildlife crime, covering issues such as the illegal possession of pesticides affecting birds of prey, vicarious liability, and challenges posed by invasive non-native species, including prevention, eradication, and the need for a comprehensive strategy.

    Module 5 - CAPTURE AND HANDLING OF WILD ANIMALS

    In this module, you will learn about wildlife management techniques, the purpose and applications of various animal barriers (snares, pits, nets, live traps, rockets, net guns, mist nets, and stockades), and drug immobilization methods (use of pistols, rifles, jab sticks, blowpipes, crossbows, dart design, responses, side effects, drug actions, dosages, and safety measures, along with potential complications).

    The module also covers safety measures to follow while handling and transporting samples, the importance of individual identification through behavioral idiosyncrasies, passive marking collars, branding, rings, and dynamic marking techniques such as beta lights and radio-tracking harnesses.

    MODULE 6 - SPECIMEN IDENTIFICATION AND PROVENANCE

    This module covers the essential aspects of forensic biology related to plant and animal identification, including:

    Plant identification, emphasizing plant morphology, vegetative and flower characteristics, wood anatomy, and the relevance of traditional medicines

    Animal identification, covering animal morphology and the significance of museum services in preserving whole specimens, skeletons, skulls, horns, antlers, tusks (ivory), teeth, and other parts

    Additionally, the module highlights the concept of feather identification and the identification of bird eggs, providing an overview of techniques related to plant and animal specimens.

    MODULE 7 - DNA TESTING AND WILDLIFE CRIME

    In this module, you will learn about wildlife forensic DNA analysis, its historical evolution, the collection and preservation of DNA evidence, and wildlife forensic DNA analysis methods, including techniques like protein polymorphisms, DNA isolation, purification, concentration, and DNA quantification, as well as advanced methodologies like restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), polymorphic chain reaction (PCR), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and emerging cutting-edge techniques. The module also covers the role of human DNA and the UK National DNA Database in biodiversity conservation.

    MODULE 8 - CITES CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES AND WILD FAUNA AND FLORA

    This module explores the domain of endangered species, its historical overview, the examination of endangered species, including both animals and plants, and the workings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), highlighting its role in regulating the international trade of endangered species.

    You will also learn about the factors responsible for species endangerment, strategies for the management of endangered species, and an in-depth look at the Endangered Species Act of 1973, including its significance and impact on safeguarding vulnerable wildlife populations.

    MODULE 9 - MANAGEMENT OF WILDLIFE PROTECTED AREAS

    In this module, you will learn about habitat management, objectives and resource studies, analysis of the surrounding region, planning of boundaries and presentation of management zones within the ecosystem, and the crucial aspects of communication, staff, and visitor amenities that highlight their role in effective habitat management.

    The module also covers the concept of a management program, including the establishment of control, habitat and wildlife management strategies, and the intersection of tourism, finance, and wildlife in both managed and exploited forests. The module concludes with case histories from India, America, and Southeast Asia, providing valuable insights into the practical application of habitat management principles in varied contexts.

    MODULE 10 - WILDLIFE ECOTOURISM

    This module covers the domain of wildlife tourism, exploration of objectives, planning, and economic considerations of eco-tourism, the preservation of protected areas in India, and the development of interpretative facilities to enhance visitor experiences, with a focus on understanding visitor characteristics, expectations, and motivations.

    You will also learn about the core principle of sustainability in wildlife tourism, planning ecotourism initiatives within protected areas, the management of harvestings and hunting licenses, and case studies from renowned reserves such as Periyar Tiger Reserve, Keoladeo National Park, Kanha National Park, Jim Corbett National Park, and Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, highlighting successful wildlife tourism models.

    The module concludes by addressing the limitations and challenges of ecosystems, eco-tourism as a way for sustainable management of natural resources, and its positive impact on local livelihoods, including nomadic grazing and agro-based practices.

    MODULE 11 - LEGAL ASPECTS OF WILDLIFE FORENSICS

    This module introduces you to the legal considerations related to wildlife forensics, prosecution methods for holding perpetrators accountable, penalties and sentencing strategies, policing wildlife crime, and highlighting the roles played by bodies like the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Recording Crime Agency, and the National Crime Agency.

    You will also learn about civil enforcement, emphasizing collaborative efforts through the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime, report writing, appearing in court as an expert, and recommendations to boost the ongoing battle against wildlife crime.

    MODULE 12 - WILDLIFE FORENSICS, CONSERVATION PRINCIPLES, AND LAWS

    In this module, you will be introduced to the foundational aspects of forest policy, along with its needs and latitude. The module proceeds with awareness about the National Forest Policies of 1894, 1952, and 1988 and salient features of forest law, including the Indian Forest Act of 1927 and the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, along with its subsequent rules in 2003, the Environmental Protection Act of 1986, and the Indian Biological Diversity Act of 2002.

    The module also covers the practical applications of pollution policies, environmental quality standards, guidelines, rules, and regulations related to various acts, and an examination of major international agreements such as the UNFCCC, CBD, CITES, ITTA, Kyoto Protocol, TRIPS, and others, highlighting their global significance in shaping environmental governance.

  • What steps should I follow to enroll in this online course?

    To enroll, click on the “Register for Course” option available on the right side of the screen, followed by the provided instructions and payment procedure.

  • Can I pay directly to the bank account of SIFS India?

    Yes, you have the option to make a direct payment to the bank account of SIFS India;, all you have to do is write an email at education@sifs.in requesting the bank details. 

  • Which documents I have to upload at the time of enrollment?

    Academic Qualification Documents, Professional Qualification Certificates, and National ID Proof or Passport Copy are required at the time of enrollment.  

  • What if I am unable to upload my documents?

    Kindly send your necessary documents with proof of payment to admission@sifs.in.

  • How will I receive confirmation once I have completed the payment procedure?

    An Admission Confirmation email will be sent with your portal credentials once the proof of payment and application form with all the necessary documents are received at admission@sifs.in.

  • How do I login to the portal for my online course?

    To login, visit the portal at the given link: https://www.sifs.in/student and enter your login credentials, i.e., your username and password shared via email. 

  • What study material access will I have after logging into the portal?

    After logging into the portal, you will have access to reading material, reference eBooks, and e-research papers.

  • Will I receive any assignments during my course duration?

    Yes, all your assignments, projects, case studies and practice tests will be assigned to you through your portal as per the level you will be enrolled in.

  • What technical prerequisites are necessary for an online course?

    You can easily access our online course on mobile / tablet devices. We highly recommend that you use your desktop or laptop and a reliable internet connection for a better view.

  • Will there be any exams after completing the course?

    Yes, there will be an online exam after completing the course.

  • Will I receive any certificates after completing the online course?

    Yes, upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate and marksheet, which can be a valuable addition to your resume and may enhance your career prospects in the field.

  • Where to contact in case of any queries or technical support?

    Write to us at admission@sifs.in, call: +91-1147074263, or WhatsApp: +91-7303913002.

In developing countries, one of the major threats to losing biodiversity is the consumption of bush meat.

In several countries, illegal poaching of migratory birds is done to meet their requirements. However, many times, even small birds are killed for meat. One such winter migratory bird to peninsular India, the Greater Short-toed Lark or Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla; henceforth STL), witnessed massive poaching by the natives to supply the meat to the eateries.

Several times, law enforcement agencies rope in volunteers to raid local markets and restaurants to gather information about illegal trade and trafficking.

However, species identification is a challenging task due to morphological traits, particularly when the samples are either too old, degraded, or transformed into pieces. In these cases, DNA-based identification is done and has always proved to be a useful tool for investigating questioned wildlife samples with changed morphological identities.


Unidentified Cooked Meat Case Study

A fully cooked meat sample was procured from a restaurant in Murshidabad district of West Bengal by the Eastern Regional Office – Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and West Bengal officials.

They booked the offense based on the available information under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, on the basis of suspicion that the seized meat was of STL origin. The fully cooked meat, seasoned with spices, was forwarded to the Zoological Survey of India in Kolkata for the purpose of determining the species of origin.

The meat was washed with 1X sterile Phosphate Buffer Saline (PBS) overnight to remove all spices and condiments. A tiny piece of bone was found in the sample and was used to scrape off the outer flesh layers.

For DNA analysis, a small piece of fleash was taken from the innermost layer and isolation of genomic DNA was carried out using QiAmp DNA-Investigator Kit. Around 400bp fragments of both the mitochondrial genes were amplified using universal primer sets of Cytochrome b and 12S rRNA genes.

On Genetic analyser Sanger sequencing was carried out. Using Sequencher v4.7 the sequence quality was checked.

In-depth analysis and comparing with the sequences from the NCBI/BLAST database was done.

the sequence length of the sample in question for both genes were found to be 287bp (Cytb) and 360bp (12S rRNA). There was only 79% similarity for Cytochrome b gene with the suspected STL and for 12S rRNA gene sequence no data was found in the database.

However, generated sequences from cooked meat analysis yielded 99% similarity with Common quail for both the genes.

The generated sequences results indicated that seized material was a Common quail and not the STL.

Mahima Sharma

5

It was a great experience! The course and syllabus was very well framed and enriching. Even the webinars are very informative!

Dr. Sankalpa Nitin Navathar

5

It was a very informative course. Learnt a lot. This was the best choice i had made. Thanks a lot for this course. I am gladly looking forward for various subjects. :)

Dr. Jijin M J

4

Its very good center to learn about forensic . It is the est platform for beginners like me.

Dr. Neoma Rozario

5

The course was very insightful and broadened my knowledge in the field of forensic science. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and learnt a lot. Thank you.

 

Instructors

Ashi Yadav

Ashi Yadav

Scientific Officer
Dr. Ranjeet Singh

Dr. Ranjeet Singh

Managing Director
Femin Dominic

Femin Dominic

Assistant Professor

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