SFU Research Helps Send Two Bear Poachers To Jail

March 26, 1997

Two poachers are now serving time in jail in Manitoba, Canada, thanks in large part to the pioneering work of Simon Fraser University forensic entomologist Gail Anderson.

Earlier this month, the two men were sentenced to six months in jail for the senseless slaughter of two young black bear cubs at a dumpsite near Winnipeg. A pivotal piece of evidence against them was supplied by insects, courtesy of Anderson's rather unusual area of expertise.

Anderson uses the lifespan of insects found on bodies to help determine time of death. She's frequently called in as an expert witness in murder trials, where her evidence can sometimes make or break an alibi.

Three years ago, Anderson expanded the scope of her research to include wildlife poaching. The Manitoba case is, to her knowledge, the first time forensic entomology has been used to get a poaching conviction in Canada.

The twin bear cubs, only several weeks old, were found shot and gutted on July 15, 1995. Their gall bladders -- too tiny to be worth any money -- had been removed. Poachers had recently killed the cubs1 mother and several other adult bears, also for their gall bladders.

Insect egg samples were taken from the cubs1 bodies and monitored over the next 24 hours. From them, Anderson determined the window of time in which the cubs had been killed. Her testimony tied the suspects to the scene. During his summation, the judge stated that the entomological evidence was a key factor in reaching the guilty verdict.

Anderson is one of only a handful of forensic entomologists in North America, and possibly the only one working on poaching cases. "Poaching is a massive problem in Canada," she says. "It's considered to be the most profitable crime next to drug trafficking."

--30--

Note: A longer release is available on the Web at: http://www.sfu.ca/mediapr/Releases/News/newsindex.html

CONTACT: Gail Anderson, criminology, 291-3512/3589 (pager: 252-5785), or Marianne Meadahl, 604-291-4323.

Simon Fraser University

Related Insects Articles from Brightsurf:

High temperatures threaten the survival of insects
Insects have difficulties handling the higher temperatures brought on by climate change, and might risk overheating.

Food allergy caused by insects?
Can edible insects trigger allergies? In September 2020, the BfR launched a new joint research project to protect consumers from potential allergic reactions: Allergen-Pro.

A robot to track and film flying insects
French scientists have developed the first cable-driven robot that can follow and interact with free-flying insects.

Dramatic loss of food plants for insects
Just a few weeks ago, everyone was talking about plummeting insect numbers.

The brains of shrimps and insects are more alike than we thought
Crustaceans share a brain structure known to be crucial for learning and memory in insects, a University of Arizona-led research team discovered.

Freshwater insects recover while spiders decline in UK
Many insects, mosses and lichens in the UK are bucking the trend of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive analysis of over 5,000 species led by UCL and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), and published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Hundreds of novel viruses discovered in insects
New viruses which cause diseases often come from animals. Well-known examples of this are the Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes, bird flu viruses, as well as the MERS virus which is associated with camels.

Tiny insects become 'visible' to bats when they swarm
Small insects that would normally be undetectable to bats using echolocation suddenly become detectable when they occur in large swarms.

Helpful insects and landscape changes
We might not notice them, but the crops farmers grow are protected by scores of tiny invertebrate bodyguards.

New information on tropical parasitoid insects revealed
The diversity and ecology of African parasitoid wasps was studied for over a year during a project run by the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku in Finland.

Read More: Insects News and Insects Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.