Identifying a hunter responsible for killing a hunting dog by individual-specific genetic profiling of wild boar DNA transferred to the canine during the accidental shooting
While genetic profiling can be a powerful tool to solve wildlife crime, comparably few examples of individual identification in wildlife forensics are available in the literature. Here, we report a case of an accidental shooting of a hunting dog during a wild boar drive hunt. The market value of trained hunting dogs can reach several thousand euro. No one admitted to killing the dog. Wild boar hairs were found in the dog’s wound, suggesting that the bullet first hit a wild boar and then the dog. Since it was known who harvested each boar, we aimed to use individual-specific genetic profiles to link these hairs to a bagged animal and to identify the culprit. We genotyped 19 harvested boar and the unknown hair sample using 13 STRs. In the case of the hair sample, we performed multiple genotyping to ensure the reliability of the genetic profile. We showed that we genotyped sufficient loci to distinguish between separate individuals with certainty. While the three most informative loci were enough to differentiate the 19 reference individuals, we did find a perfect match at all 13 STRs between the hair DNA and one tissue sample. Since our methods were reliable and reproducible, we passed the relevant information on to forestry officials who will use the information we have provided to attempt to find an amicable solution.