REF 2021 Impact Case Study: Using Forensic Science to Empower the Fight Against Pangolin Extinction


Description of impact

Research undertaken by the University of Portsmouth Forensic Innovation Centre (FIC) has led to the development of the first forensic evidence recovery technique for pangolin scales. Poaching of pangolins for their scales has resulted in them being at risk of extinction, and they are thought to be the most trafficked mammal in the world. The FIC’s fingerprint recovery process builds on extensive research and practice expertise in forensic investigation and countering wildlife crime. This pioneering technique enables the capture of multiple evidence types (fingerprints, DNA, pollen traces) from one lift off the target surface using gelatine lifters. Wildlife crime rangers can process scenes quickly and effectively, enhancing efforts to disrupt this illegal trade. The methods are now distributed worldwide through partner agencies, including the Zoological Society London (ZSL), Border Force UK, Interpol and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
Impact statusOpen
Impact dateApr 2018


  • REF2021