Agencies Utilizing Wildlife Forensic Analysis

Federal Wildlife Forensic Cases

Provincial Agencies Utilizing DNA Analysis For Wildlife For Wildlife Forensic Science

Other Forensic Related Projects


Federal Wildlife Forensic Cases

Parks Canada [Website]

  • Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick
  • Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba
  • Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
  • Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) [Website]

  • Calgary, Alberta
    DNA analyses to determine parentage in a case involving peregrine falcons (Falco peregrius)
    suspected of being illegally obtained from wild stocks. Parentage analysis using DNA
    fingerprinting excluded several offspring as being the offspring of registered breeding pairs.
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Case of charges of fraud involving Rottweiler dogs.
  • Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
    Case involving the poaching of a white-tailed deer.

Canadian Wildlife Service [Website]

  • Nova Scotia
    The CWS submitted a case involving the common eider duck (Somateria mollissima) where
    a suspect was taking wild chicks and incorporating them into his captive breeding program.
    A parentage analysis found the majority of his ducks were not the offspring of his registered breeding program. The individual was sentenced to 9 months in jail.
  • Guelph, Ontario
    The Wildlife Forensic DNA Lab has advised on cases involving the illegal trade of endangered
    and threatened species, e.g., body parts from endangered turtle species being illegally imported
    into Canada.

Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre [Website]

An inventory of Canadian wildlife experties has been established with our laboratory providing expertise in molecular genetics for wildlife forensic science and genetic stock assessment. This project was funded by the Federal Green Plan.


Provincial Agencies
Utilizing DNA Analysis For Wildlife For Wildlife Forensic Science

Ontario Ministry Of Natural Resources [Website]

The Ontario government was the first government agency in Canada to utilize DNA analysis in the enforcement of hunting regulations. Over 750 cases have been analyzed during the past 12 years.

Cases have included the following species:

  • White-tailed deer
  • Moose
  • Elk
  • Wild turkey
  • Black bear
  • Rainbow trout
  • Various goose and swan species

In 1990-1991, the Wildlife Forensic Laboratory produced the first DNA evidence to be accepted into
a North American court involving a wildlife case. To date this laboratory has produced DNA results,
which have been accepted in court as evidence in the prosecution of over 100 wildlife cases. As yet, there have been no appeals based on the admission of this evidence in any of these cases.

The following are examples of the fines and penalties levied in wildlife cases prosecuted using DNA evidence prepared at the Wildlife Forensic Laboratory.


Agency Charges Penalty
OMNR, Cochrane unlawfully hunting moose $10,000 Fine and 2 year hunting suspension
OMNR, Sudbury unlawfully hunting, possession and selling moose and deer Four convicted, $4800 Fine & 3-5 year hunting suspensions, and loss of firearms
OMNR, Peterborough unlawfully sold deer meat
unlawfully sold moose meat
unlawfully sold trout
$4000 Fine
$1000 Fine
charges dropped
OMNR, Algonquin illegal possession and sale of black bear, moose, and white-tailed deer $2200 Fine, $400 Fine, $1000 Fine, $880 Fine, $400 Fine, and $10 Fine
CWS, Nova Scotia unlawfully obtaining wild stocks of eider duck for use in a commercial breeding operation 9 Month Jail Sentence

Recent Cases:

Agency Charges Penalty
OMNR, Cornwall nlawfully hunting deer (2 individuals) Three convicted, $4500 Fine and prohibited from possessing a firearm for two years
OMNR, Peterborough unlawfully hunting deer during the closed season and hunting at night (3 individuals) Total of $15,500

Record Fine in North America:

Agency Charges Penalty
OMNR, Cochrane unlawfully hunting moose $24,000 Fine, $12,000 Fine, $400 Fine and three 10-year hunting suspensions
OMNR, North Bay unlawfully hunting deer (37 individuals) Total of $40,000

Ontario Ministry Of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) [Website]

OMAF has submitted cases involving criminal fraud, where "clean" samples of beef, which did not originate from the animal tagged for inspection, were substituted for inspection. DNA fingerprint
analysis resulted in the identification that the submitted animals did not originate from the tagged animal.

Alberta Fish And Wildlife [Website]

Between 1993 and 2000, the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Forensic Lab has submitted approximately 30 wildlife cases involving moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and caribou to our laboratory for DNA fingerprinting analysis for individual identification.

Newfoundland Department Of Tourism And Culture, Wildlife Division [Website]

Since 1994 the Newfoundland government has submitted approximately 75 cases for individual identification, gender identification and species identification involving primarily moose with a fewer number of cases involving caribou.

Other Forensic Related Projects

International Marine Mammal Association (IMMA website)
International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW website)

We have been active in an ongoing investigation to analyze pensises sold as aphrodisiacs. DNA sequencing of species-specific markers identifies whether penises are from legally harvested species
or endangered seal species, whose trade are illegal. Results of the first survey are published in Conservation Biology 11: 1365-1374 (1997).

The Humane Society Of The United States [Website]
Species-specific DNA markers were analyzed to determine the species of origin from pet
chew toys and various meat products.

RCMP [Website]
DNA sequencing of species-specific markers for identification of human remains in fecal matter.

OPP [Website]
Species-specific DNA markers were used to identify whether profile from blood at crime scene matched that of pet from suspect’s home.


Trent University Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory
DNA Building, Rm A109
2140 East Bank Drive, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, K9L 1Z8
Phone: (705) 748-1011 x7687| Fax (705) 748-1132