hunting and possessing a cow moose without a licence. Mr. Chatterton was
fined $3,000 and had his moose-hunting licence suspended for two years;
Mr. MacFarlane was fined $5,500 and had his licence suspended for four
years. (The third man, Mr. Hannigan, pleaded guilty to unlawfully hunting deer using an illegally obtained Ontario licence.)
based in the dna building on Trent’s Peterborough campus, the lab and
its primary partner, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, work with
universities, research institutions, and government and non-government
organizations around the world. The lab’s mission is to compile the kind
of comprehensive genetic information needed for effective management
and conservation of plant and animal species.
As one of the foremost wildlife forensic DNA labs in the world,
Trent’s facility is a pioneer in this rare type of identification. A new
project that the lab recently embarked upon involves compiling genetic
information on Saanen dairy goats, whose high milk production and
tendency towards multiple births could make them a solution to hun-
ger and poverty in developing countries. On the forensic side, staff
members have provided expert testimony or consulting services for
more than a thousand cases involving animals as varied as wild tur-
keys, black bears, white-tailed deer and rainbow trout. It has played a
role in cases involving criminals smuggling endangered species in or
out of Canada (black bears are the biggest domestic target due to huge
demand in South Korea, China and Japan for their paws, considered
n friday, oct. 21, 2011, three men went hunting in the
woods near Kinmount, an hour north of Peterborough, Ontario.
Kevin Chatterton, of Bowmanville, shot a calf moose and Robert
MacFarlane, of Oshawa, bagged a cow moose. The third man,
Shane Hannigan, who was visiting Ontario from Nova Scotia,
was restricted to deer hunting since he carried with him only
a deer licence for Ontario. After field-dressing the animals, the
men loaded the meat into Mr. Chatterton’s ATV.
The next day, after receiving a tip from a neighbour, conservation officers from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources
appeared at Mr. Chatterton’s home and observed the spoils of the trip.
Both Mr. Chatterton and Mr. MacFarlane had licences to shoot calf moose
only, which they insisted is what they had done. But, having determined
where the men had been hunting, an MNR canine unit searched the area
and found the kill sites. The ministry’s officers – who’d been trained at
Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory – collected blood
samples and ballistics evidence. On the strength of this, the officers were
granted search warrants for both men’s homes. They confiscated tissue
and blood samples from parts of the moose carcasses, a bag used to transport meat, and both clothing and firearms.
That’s when Bradley White, director of Trent’s DNA lab and chair of
the university’s biology department, got involved. Dr. White and his team
began the painstaking process of determining the genetic fingerprint of 25
samples collected for the case. In the end, thanks to DNA evidence supplied
by the crime-busting team of scientists, the two hunters were charged with
LEF T: Bone fragments found
in the stomach contents of
a black bear that had been
shot for attacking a hiker and
BELO W: Bradley White, director
of Trent’s Wildlife Forensics
DNA lab and chair of biology.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: A forensic technician holds
up the ear of a red deer at the DNA extraction bench.