Rapid and non-destructive identification of claws using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy–A novel approach in wildlife forensics

Published on Aug 12, 2019in Science & Justice2.075
· DOI :10.1016/J.SCIJUS.2019.08.002
Chandra P. Sharma54
Estimated H-index: 54
(Wildlife Institute of India),
Sweety Sharma7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Punjabi University)
+ 1 AuthorsRajinder Singh9
Estimated H-index: 9
(Punjabi University)
Sources
Abstract
Abstract Differentiation and identification of Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) and Indian Leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) claws is a challenging task in wildlife forensics, due to similarity in their morphology, anatomy and chemical compositions as both the species are closely related to each other genetically. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, which offers a non-destructive and safe alternative technique to other conventional methods, has been employed in the present work to differentiate claws of Royal Bengal Tiger and Indian Leopard. An attempt has been made to differentiate 31 reference claw samples from 16 different Royal Bengal Tigers, 15 different Indian Leopards, and 10 fake claws using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy supplemented with PCA, PLS-DA, and LDA. PCA could not distinguish the samples of two closely related species among themselves as well as from the fake claws. On the other hand, PLS-DA and LDA models both yielded highly significant classification rate for differentiation among the samples of Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, and their fake counterparts. Further, seven blind claw samples that were pretended to be unknown to the analyst of both the species are also examined and identified correctly to their respective groups. The R-Square value obtained for PLS-DA model to differentiate Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, and fake claws is 0.99, which is highly significant for predictive accuracy. This study shows that ATR-FTIR spectroscopy with PLS-DA/LDA has a potential to present a rapid, non-destructive, reliable, and eco-friendly approach for the accurate identification and differentiation of Royal Bengal Tiger and Indian Leopard claws.
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