Post-mortem examination of wild animals for legal purposes has become increasingly common. Special procedures are necessary during such necropsies to ensure that the information collected is suitable for use in a court of law. Forensic necropsies should be performed by pathologists with formal training and experience, because these credentials will be examined if a case reaches court. There must be strict attention to maintaining a chain of custody when specimens are received from the field and in all subsequent procedures, so that the identity of specimens and information resulting from the necropsy is beyond question. A complete record must be kept of all procedures and observations. The necropsy report must be detailed, clear and, as far as possible, written in non-technical language. Photography should be used to preserve visual evidence. Special precautions are required for collecting specimens, such as bullets, suspected toxins, and material for DNA analysis, and for sending these specimens to other laboratories.
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Vol. 32 • No. 2