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Wildlife Crime

The Wildlife Crime Working Group works to improve the conservation and protection of wild flora and fauna threatened by domestic wildlife crime and international trade, also seeking to address the associated welfare issues. The working group aims to ensure the effective enforcement of UK wildlife laws and the proper implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and relevant EU directives.

Chair: Martin Sims, League Against Cruel Sports
Vice-Chair: Craig Fellowes, Badger Trust
Link: Jodie Le Marquand, Information and Policy Coordinator

Update from the Group

Domestic Wildlife Crime

In 2018, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) launched England and Wales’s first Wildlife Crime Policing Strategy, running from 2018-2021. The Wildlife Crime Policing Strategy contains much to be welcomed, including echoing our calls for improved recording of wildlife crime. However, almost two years on, we are still waiting for much of these calls to be answered.

The Group are currently working on their fourth annual wildlife crime report. Last year, the report found that reports of wildlife crimes have risen by 17% since 2016. However, as Government remain unable to report on the extent of wildlife crime, this data is piecemeal. We are calling on Government to record wildlife crime centrally, allowing for trends to be understood and hotspots discovered. Our report was launched in parliament at an event hosted by Kerry McCarthy MP, with over 15 MPs and peers attending to show support for ending wildlife crime and hearing more about our findings.

International work

In May, we celebrated good news for elephants as an appeal against the Ivory Act was dismissed for the second time. We are thankful for the Court’s decision to value the lives of elephants above the interests of those who want to profit from ivory. David Cowdrey, Vice-Chair of the group, details more in his blog.

In February, the Group responded to Government’s consultation and call for evidence on Trophy Hunting imports. The response called for a ban on all hunting trophies entering or leaving the UK. A complete ban would recognise the clear and consistent message from public opinion polling that the overwhelming majority of the British public do not support trophy hunting. In an online Survation poll of over 1,000 British adults conducted in July 2019, 63% of respondents were ‘strongly supportive’ and a further 12% were ‘supportive’ of a ban.

For more information, please contact Jodie Le Marquand, Link's Information & Policy Coordinator

Last updated: 1 October 2020