The primary mission of the laboratory is to:
- Identify the species or subspecies of pieces, parts or products of an animal.
- Determine the cause-of-death of an animal.
- Help wildlife officers determine if a violation of law has occurred.
- Identify and compare physical evidence in an attempt to link suspect, victim and crime scene.
In order to accomplish our assigned mission, and to meet the forensic needs of wildlife law enforcement officers at the federal, state and international levels, the lab's forensic specialists will conduct crime scene investigations, examine submitted items of evidence, and provide expert witness testimony in court. They do so much like their counterparts in a police crime laboratory.
In performing this mission, we support federal law enforcement efforts of our 200+ Special Agents and Wildlife Inspectors throughout the United States, all fifty State Fish & Game Commissions, and approximately 150 foreign countries who have signed the United Nation's CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Treaty. View more about CITES on our U.S. Wildlife Laws page.
Any research we conduct is specifically focused on forensics, especially the species-source identification of wildlife parts and products. We do not receive any live animals at the laboratory, nor do we conduct research on habitat, behavior, or management of wildlife.
"Our mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People"