The NWCU (National Wildlife Crime Unit) since operation 3 years ago, have reduced their Wildlife Crime staff from 14 to 9 due to lack of funding and have made only 51 convictions in 2008-2009 which is only 3.3% of the cases they dealt with, reported the Sunday national newspapers.
Wildlife crime is on the increase but with only 9 members of staff for the whole of the UK suggests there is no commitment for the protection of our wildlife and its environment.
“There is far too much wildlife crime going on in the countryside. The scale of it is unacceptable in the modern age.” Dr. Mark Avery, RSPBs conservation director said.
There are many wildlife crimes happening every single day such as extracting badgers from their setts and making them fight against terriers for money, stealing bird eggs, poisoning birds of prey, killing bats, trapping and snaring animals, illegal fox hunting, hare coursing, poaching or destruction of animal habitats.
There are thousands of volunteers working for conservation trusts, looking after wildlife and their habitats who would happily welcome the responsibility to ‘protect and serve’ endangered animals and be recognised in Law. By being highly vetted by the police, it will only be those volunteers with sincerest ethics and suitably qualified that will be able to become an enforcement officer for wildlife.
NCWU figures do not include attacks against farm animals or domestic animals, which have risen from 105,000 in 2003 to 140,000 last year.
Northumbria ranks highest in the latest crime figures (525), followed by Humberside (119). Also shamed are Grampian, Tayside, Lancashire, Northern Wales, Gwent, Devon, Cornwall and Northern Ireland. Not all counties have been cited, suggesting that there are not enough resources to enforce the law and the real statistics could be very much higher.
Whilst there is great appreciation of the NWCU’s work to date, unfortunately staff levels are not enough to be able to effectively police our countryside. From February to July 2009, 241 incidents were recorded for badger persecution. If staffing levels were higher, the statistics reported would probably indicate that the true level of crime against Britain’s wildlife is much higher than originally shown. Allowing trained volunteers to increase the man hours spent on cases could see a huge rise in successful convictions which together with prevention management consultations, will help safe guard our animals and their homes.
Help the NWCU by allowing qualified volunteers to work alongside the existing staff members by signing the petition here.