National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory

Ashland, OR, United States

National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory

Ashland, OR, United States
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Ladouceur E.E.B.,University of California at Davis | Kagan R.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory | Scanlan M.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory | Viner T.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2015

Research has demonstrated that intramuscularly embedded lead in humans and rats may cause direct plumbism, albeit rarely, and has identified risk factors to this end. To the authors' knowledge, this has not been investigated in wildlife, despite a high incidence of embedded lead in these animals secondary to cynegetic activities. Fourteen wildlife cases submitted to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory for cause-of-death determination had chronically embedded lead projectiles that were unrelated to the cause of death. Tissue lead levels were measured in all cases and revealed clinically significant hepatic lead levels in two cases. The results corroborate comparative literature and suggest that embedded lead fragments carry a low risk for direct plumbism, even in the face of risk factors such as fractures, inflammation, and projectile fragmentation. Wildlife morbidity and mortality from embedded lead is more commonly realized secondary to incidental ingestion and ballistic trauma rather than by direct toxicity. © 2015 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Hawley J.E.,Sessions | Rego P.W.,Sessions | Wydeven A.P.,Northland College | Schwartz M.K.,Rocky Research | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Mammalogy | Year: 2016

We report the long-distance dispersal of a subadult male cougar (Puma concolor) from South Dakota to Milford, Connecticut, where it was struck and killed by a vehicle. Genetic samples suggest this animal originated from the Black Hills of South Dakota while isotope analysis and physical inspection revealed no evidence that the animal had been held in captivity. We detected this dispersing individual at 5 locations along its route (Minnesota, 3 times in Wisconsin and New York) with DNA from fecal or hair samples, and with multiple photographs from citizen-run camera traps (3 in Wisconsin and 1 in Michigan). The > 2,450 km straight-line distance (Black Hills of South Dakota to Connecticut) traveled by the cougar is the longest dispersal documented for the species. We propose a likely route of > 2,700 km over 2 years based on topography and our confirmed records. We suggest that this excessive movement was motivated by the absence of female cougars along the route. The documentation of such a rare biological event not only shows the great dispersal potential for male cougars but also highlights our ability to detect these movements with verifiable voucher DNA and photographic records. Evidence collected for this one animal, and complete absence of verifiable data from most anecdotal reports of cougars in the east, further confirms the lack of a breeding population in the region. © 2016 American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org.


Miller S.E.,University of Idaho | Scarnecchia D.L.,University of Idaho | Fain S.R.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory
Journal of Applied Ichthyology | Year: 2011

Spawning activity of paddlefish Polyodon spathula in the Missouri River, Montana in 2008-2009 was examined to delineate spawning sites and times in relation to discharge, water temperature and turbidity. One hundred thirty-six eggs were collected at water temperatures ranging from 12.0 to 20.7°C (mean, 16.3°C; SD, 2.5). Only 12 of 89 (13%) congregations of radio-tagged adults observed during the spawning period coincided with egg captures. Six larvae were collected at water temperatures ranging from 19.1 to 21.7°C (mean, 20.5°C; SD, 0.86). Peak discharge in 2008 (903m 3s -1 on 14 June) was approximately 30% greater in magnitude and occurred 11days later than peak discharge in 2009 (612m 3s -1 on 3 June). Despite these differences in the hydrograph, no significant differences in egg CPUE were found between years (anova, F=0.69, P=0.56). Logistic regression identified no significant river condition variables associated with the presence or absence of eggs (P>0.14 for all variables). However, in both years maximum egg CPUE was recorded within 3days of the hydrograph peak and at similar water temperatures (17.5°C in 2008, 16.8°C in 2009). These results suggest an overall association of peaking discharge and seasonally warming water temperatures with egg deposition. Higher catches of eggs and larvae than observed in this study may be necessary to clarify short-term (day-to-day) effects of environmental changes on spawning activity. Continued investigation of the relationship between short-term changes in river conditions and paddlefish spawning activity is needed to understand the mechanics underlying the reproductive success of this species. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag, Berlin.


Clancy M.M.,Smithsonian Institution | Clancy M.M.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Woc-Colburn M.,Smithsonian Institution | Woc-Colburn M.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Investigations into the cause of mortality and other important findings at necropsy were made into two families of small mammals at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (SNZP; USA). Necropsy reports from 1976 through 2008 were reviewed for all elephant shrews in family Macroscelididae (n = 118) and all tree shrews in family Tupaiidae (n = 90) that lived for greater than 30 days at the SNZP. Causes of mortality were classified by body system and etiology to identify prevalent diseases and trends across demographics for each family. In elephant shrews, gastrointestinal disease (n = 18) and respiratory disease (n = 22) were important causes of mortality with an increased prevalence of pneumonia in adult males. Trauma was a common cause of mortality in tree shrews (n = 22). Cryptococcosis was an important cause of mortality in both families (n = 8 elephant shrews; n = 13 tree shrews). Bacterial infections, often systemic at time of mortality, were also common (n = 16 elephant shrews; n = 17 tree shrews). Arteriosclerosis was a common comorbid pathology noted at necropsy in certain populations, seen only in Elephantulus rufescens in the family Macroscelididae (n = 22) and in only males in the family Tupaiidae (n = 11). Gongylonemiasis was seen commonly in tree shrews (n = 15), as a comorbid finding, or in 5 cases directly leading to mortality. Awareness of the prevalence of these diseases can help guide prevention and intervention strategies. © 2013 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Viner T.C.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory | Kagan R.A.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory | Johnson J.L.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory
Forensic Science International | Year: 2014

Mortality due to electrical injury in wildlife may occur in the form of lightning strike or power line contact. Evidence of electrical contact may be grossly obvious, with extensive singeing, curling, and blackening of feathers, fur, or skin. Occasionally, changes may be subtle, owing to lower current or reduced conductivity, making a definitive diagnosis of electrocution more difficult. We describe the use of an alternate light source in the examination of cases of lightning strike and power line contact in wildlife, and the enhanced detection of changes due to electrical currents in the hair and feathers of affected animals. Subtle changes in the wing feathers of 12 snow geese and 1 wolf that were struck by separate lightning events were made obvious by the use of an alternate light source. Similarly, this technique can be used to strengthen the evidence for power line exposure in birds. © 2013.


PubMed | National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory
Type: | Journal: Forensic science international | Year: 2013

Mortality due to electrical injury in wildlife may occur in the form of lightning strike or power line contact. Evidence of electrical contact may be grossly obvious, with extensive singeing, curling, and blackening of feathers, fur, or skin. Occasionally, changes may be subtle, owing to lower current or reduced conductivity, making a definitive diagnosis of electrocution more difficult. We describe the use of an alternate light source in the examination of cases of lightning strike and power line contact in wildlife, and the enhanced detection of changes due to electrical currents in the hair and feathers of affected animals. Subtle changes in the wing feathers of 12 snow geese and 1 wolf that were struck by separate lightning events were made obvious by the use of an alternate light source. Similarly, this technique can be used to strengthen the evidence for power line exposure in birds.


Sims M.E.,National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory
Forensic Science International | Year: 2010

The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory routinely receives confiscated wildlife parts and products (including ivory) for identification purposes as part of wildlife law enforcement casework. Identification of evidentiary ivory typically involves a detailed and comprehensive visual and microscopic examination of the objects, as well as observation with ultraviolet light. Of thousands of ivory objects examined at the Lab, the author has observed unusual non-Proboscidean (elephant) objects with Schreger-like (cross-hatched) pattern. One of these objects was a small well-polished netsuke carved from a hippopotamus canine. © 2010.

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