Plenary Session, February 2015: Dr Rebecca Johnson

Time to acknowledge the elephant in the room? How the illegal wildlife trade contributes to extinction, biosecurity risk and organised crime

Wildlife crime is extremely lucrative, highly organised and has almost no limit to the species that are targeted for the illegal trade. The consequences can be devastating, driving some species to the brink of extinction, and in other cases introducing exotic species that can then become devastating pests. In recent years the illegal wildlife trade has received increasing attention as a significant transnational crime and several high profile prosecutions have ensued. In her presentation, Dr Johnson will use case studies from her laboratory to demonstrate the broad diversity of work in wildlife forensics and its significance in the prosecution of wildlife crime.

Dr Johnson is a certified wildlife forensic scientist with over 18 years’ experience as a molecular geneticist in Australia and the USA. She has a PhD in the field of molecular evolutionary genetics and has established the Museum as one of the global leaders in the field of forensics and conservation genomics. The Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics is one of the few ISO17025 accredited wildlife forensic laboratories in the Australasian region. Dr Johnson has also been appointed as an examiner in wildlife forensics under the Commonwealth legislation by the Minister for the Environment.

Rebecca Johnson’s Australian Museum page