Courtesy of National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab.

A collection of confiscated and/or donated skins, trophies, and fur coats at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory.
Try suggesting to Ed Espinoza that in forensic sciences, wildlife work is the poor sister. The deputy director of the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., may mention something about anthropomorphism, followed by comparative statistics on populations of walruses and small towns, or the numbers of tigers and high schools. "In human forensics labs, they're dealing with one species," he points out. "Ninety percent of what we do is determining what species a thing is."

Founded in 1989 as the world's first wildlife crime lab, the Ashland facility received a modest $2.2 million in federal funding this year. But recently, state governments and universities have developed labs in Wyoming, Idaho, California, Maine, Florida, and Kentucky. Internationally, projects have been mounted...

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