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Forensic entomology in poisoned bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) in Central Italy: The importance of a specialized team investigasting crimes on animals

Magni, P.A. and Fico, R. (2008) Forensic entomology in poisoned bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) in Central Italy: The importance of a specialized team investigasting crimes on animals. In: 6th Meeting European Association for Forensic Entomology (EAFE), 20 - 24 May 2008, Kolymbari, Crete.

Abstract

In September 2007 in the territory of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (in Central Italy) some carcasses of wild and domestic animals (mainly bears, wolfs, wildpigs and goats) were found. The carcasses were found following the mortality signals of the satellite radio-collar which had been placed on one of the bears. Such a bear was the object of international research on its biological features because this species is at risk of extinction. While looking for the dead bear, we found the other carcasses. Therefore a wide area in the Park became the crime scene. Corpo Forestale dello Stato (Italian forest rangers) investigated the territory. The forensic veterinaries of “Unità Specialistica di Medicina Forense Veterinaria dell’Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Regioni Lazio e Toscana” examined the animals. The high stage of decay of the animals required also the forensic entomological exams in order to determine the right time sequence of the deaths of the animals found on the crime. The anatomo-pathological and toxicological examinations allowed us to determine that the bears and the wolves had died as a consequence of the ingestion of pesticide used in agriculture. The entomological examination were also made to validate the anatomo-pathological and toxicological ones. As insects can absorb the chemical ingested by the poisoned animals entomotoxicological exams were made to identify the substances that might have contaminated the insects. The case is still under investigation. Thanks to this case, the importance of having a team of forensic experts in animal crimes was understood. In Italy such a team is now located in Grosseto (Tuscany) and its members are veterinaries, toxicologists, molecular biologists and forensic entomologists.

Item Type: Conference Item
Conference Website: http://www.eafe.org/
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/57677
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