Animal Investigators: How the World’s First Wildlife Forensics Lab Is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species

Publisher's Weekly

Laurel A. Neme. Scribner, $25 (256p) ISBN 9781416550563
Few people realize that animal parts trafficking represents a large threat to the global ecosystem; writer and natural resource management expert Neme is one of them. Trading in rare goods highly prized by many cultures, but lacking in human victims, the worldwide animal parts market remains largely invisible, and thus completely underestimated, except in the underfunded U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that's tasked with stopping it. In this engrossing look at the CSI of the animal world, Neme opens readers' eyes through three case studies: walrus tusk hunting in Alaska, an investigation that leads into serious debate over issues of native sovereignty and subsistence hunting; bears poached for their gall bladders, a cure-all in Chinese medicine; and rare Amazonian birds killed for their feathers. Explaining the science behind the work, Neme reveals concrete clues and f ascinating sidelights that should keep fans of police procedurals hooked, while also focusing on cultural issues and the challenges of global regulation. Readers interested in true crime, animal rights or television's Law and Order will be fascinated, educated, and perhaps inspired to spread the word. (Apr.)