Environment

Cruelty in a Concrete Jungle

Tue.28.Feb.2012 GMT

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is calling on London’s mayoral candidates to pledge to properly resource London’s specialist wildlife cops.

The international animal welfare charity, which last month revealed it was sponsoring the Met’s specialist Wildlife Crime Unit through a £100,000 donation, fears that wildlife crime will flourish in the capital unless a long-term commitment is made to tackle the problem.  

The WSPA’s donation has provided some much needed breathing space for the Wildlife Crime Unit, but it only last until October 2012. So today the WSPA is launching ‘Cruelty in a Concrete Jungle’ its campaign to get the mayoral candidates to step up to safeguard the future of the unit.

Nic Dakin MP is hosting a Parliamentary Reception where guests will have the opportunity to view a rare display of wildlife items seized in London.

Wildlife crime is not a niche, illicit trade carried out by petty part-time villains. It’s a major source of revenue for a global network of hardened criminals – gangs, drug lords, terrorists all growing rich from the trafficking of wildlife.

London is a major hub for the illegal wildlife trade. The Metropolitan Police has seized over 30,000 endangered species items since 1995. In 2008 they seized thousands of pounds worth of raw ivory products, some manufactured in the UK, which included 24 whole elephant tusks. And last year, the unit oversaw the world’s largest seizure of rhino horn (including 129 individual horns) in Kensington.

WSPA are urging the mayoral candidates not to turn a blind eye to wildlife crime. As long as the enforcement of their illegal activities is under-resourced and under-prioritised, there will be wildlife at risk of exploitation, cruelty and even extinction.

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