Non destructive techniques for individualizing porcupine quill through trace evidence analysis

Ashvinkumar H. Italiya., Niha Ansari and Shobhana K. Menon

As we all know there is an increasing rate of poaching of the various items obtained from the various wildlife animals. One of its kind is the Indian crested porcupine quills. To the best of our knowledge, no research work is reported till date for the identification of the quills using any non-destructive techniques which can prove to be useful in the field of wildlife forensic. The present study, introduces for the first time the application of microscopic examination, FTIR ATR andED-XRF as a promising valuable examination tool for identifying porcupine quills in wildlife crime. The microscopic study showed clearly defined scales patterns which are unique to Indian crested porcupine quills having the mean value of 17.40 µm and showing standard deviation of 9.66 while the FTIR ATR study showed that a peak of disulphide linkage and amide back bone (amide – I, II, III) which can be effectively utilized for their identification. As well as the XRF analysis showed that the quills contains about 84% of sulphur in it and also provide data for the differentiation of black-white-black and white quill. As all the techniques implied in this study are non-destructive, the samples can be saved for further research analysis which also maintains its evidential value in the court procedure. The results obtained after applying the techniques draw the conclusion that Indian crested porcupine quills can be distinguished while preserving the sample which will have far reaching implications in wildlife forensics especially in poaching cases.

Download PDF: