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February 7, 2014

HSI UK Welcomes News of Funding for National Wildlife Crime Unit

Government must do more to combat domestic wildlife crime

Humane Society International/UK

  • British wildlife suffers from criminal activity and cruelty. Andy Fisher

LONDON—Humane Society International/UK welcomes news that government funding for the UK's National Wildlife Crime Unit has been guaranteed until 2016. The NWCU works to detect and prevent wildlife crime, assisting police forces in wildlife crime investigation and identifying local or national threats.

The news comes in advance of next week’s high-level Illegal Wildlife Trade summit in London. The event, to be hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William, will bring together representatives of more than 50 countries and international agencies to discuss how to combat the huge and growing illegal trade in wildlife products which threatens the future of many endangered species and security in many parts of the world.

Mark Jones, HSI/UK's executive director, who is also a veterinarian, said:

““Regrettably, our British wildlife fall victim to all sorts of unscrupulous criminal activity and cruelty. The National Wildlife Crime Unit does an absolutely vital job investigating illegal persecution, on the front-line protecting our wild species against such things illegal hare coursing, badger baiting, wild bird trapping and poisoning of our birds of prey. Financial uncertainty has been hanging over the NWCU for some time so we are delighted that the government is now providing funding security."

"We urge the government to go even further by implementing the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendations, in particular to follow Scotland’s lead by appointing specialist wildlife crime prosecutors, and to ensure that sentencing for wildlife crime is sufficient to act as a deterrent.” ”

Read the EAC’s recommendations from 2012 in full.

Recent NWCU Actions:

  • Rhino horn: South Yorkshire Aug 2013 – NWCU assisted in the arrest of Clifford Bardelli for offering rhino horn for sale.
  • Rare owls: Gloucestershire, June 2013 - NWCU worked closely with Gloucestershire Constabulary CID on Operation Artio, which resulted in a suspended sentence being given to Keith Beaven for stealing rare owls. 

ENDS

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins, HSI/UK: +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

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