Draft Edition - Due to be published Tuesday 11th April 2023.

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Wildlife Crime and Forensic Investigation (BIME11017)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course looks at the three main categories of wildlife crime: the illegal trade in endangered species, crimes relating to native species which are endangered or subject to conservation regulations, and cruelty and persecution of wildlife. Environmental crimes (e.g. pollution) will also be discussed insofar as these affect biodiversity and ecosystems. The scientific techniques used in the forensic investigation of these crimes to collate evidence with a view to prosecution will be covered in detail.
Relevant legislation will be introduced, with an emphasis on international regulations such as CITES. UK legislation and case law will also be covered.
Course description The course covers a vast subject briefly with an emphasis on the topics most relevant to the wider MSc programme. It aims to illustrate the sources of international law pertaining to wildlife, and the differences in law as it applies to the international arena as opposed to the national context.

Weekly lectures will be presented on the following topics:

Lecture 1 An Introduction to Wildlife Crime
Lectures 2 and 3 Trade in Endangered Species
Lecture 4 Crimes against Endangered Species
Lecture 5 Forensic Analysis of DNA
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply knowledge of the historical context of wildlife conservation to develop a deep understanding of what constitutes wildlife crime.
  2. Recognise the significance of international trade in wildlife and critically appraise the effectiveness of CITES and its main provision in regulating this trade.
  3. Synthesise knowledge from the relevant literature to define the term "poaching", and critically appraise the effectiveness of legislation which exists to combat it.
  4. Develop a deep understanding of laws relating to the cruelty and persecution of animals and to habitat protection.
  5. Critically assess the likely impact of environmental crimes on wildlife.
Reading List
The majority of reading material will be derived from online journals with some reference to websites and e-books.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will involve the student in an understanding of how international law pertaining to wildlife operates in practice, and the issues pertaining to its application and enforcement with a specific focus on international trade in endangered species. It will enable them to assimilate other aspects of their learning from the other courses on the programme as well as enable them to use their skills of comprehension of legal drafting and terminology.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sharron Ogle
Course secretaryMr Andrew Le Tissier
Tel: (0131 6)51 4075
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