UK: Wildlife crime not taken seriously


The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and The Wildlife Trusts' are leading calls for a shake-up in wildlife crime policing to better protect the UK's plants and animals.picture of large dandelion

The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) is heavily under-staffed despite wildlife crime still being at unacceptably high levels, so conservation groups are taking the law into their own hands to try and shake-up the system.

The fundamental flaws pointed out by the campaigners are:

Paul Wilkinson of The Wildlife Trusts' said: "The current uncertainty around what constitutes a wildlife crime is surely unacceptable. This grey area helps those who commit wildlife crimes and puts the enforcement agencies, and wildlife itself, at a disadvantage."

The flimsy system seems to make it unlikely that anyone who commits a crime would ever be prosecuted. Although flagship species, such as birds of prey, tend be guarded vigorously there are many forgotten species - and particularly rare plants - that are afforded little or no protection.