World Society for the Protection of Animals

Stamping out London’s wildlife crime

The World Society for the Protection of Animals has launched a groundbreaking partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service’s Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU).

London’s specialist wildlife police have been given a financial boost in their efforts to stamp out wildlife crime in the city – the first time a charity has directly funded a Metropolitan Police Service unit.

Safeguarding the future of the WCU

Given the current climate of austerity, WSPA felt compelled to secure and strengthen wildlife crime policing in London, fearing for the future of the WCU as its uniquely trained officers neared retirement.

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WSPA unveiled the news at London’s City Hall this morning, exhibiting a collection of items rarely, if ever, on display to the public, including £200,000 worth of rhino horn, a three metre long polar bear skin and a 10 day old ‘decorative’ stuffed tiger cub.

Suzi Morris, WSPA UK Director said: “Our funding is equivalent to every single of our wonderful WSPA UK supporters donating £1 each. We know they are passionate about wildlife issues, so this was an important decision for us. The capital remains a major hub for global wildlife crime – a fact that WSPA cannot ignore as we are headquartered in London.

“As the leading international animal welfare charity, we felt that it was our duty to help the WCU create a lasting enforcement legacy.”

Trading in cruelty

As WSPA supporters know, one shocking example of wildlife crime is the illegal trade in bear bile, an illicit ingredient found in some traditional Asian medicines. Thousands of bears are currently suffering desperately cruel conditions in Asia’s bear farms in order to provide the bile necessary to satisfy global demand.

This new funding means that criminals who are making money out of illegally trading animals into London will not have the satisfaction of thinking that they can get away with exploiting animals: WSPA and the WCU think this trade in cruelty has to stop.

Wildlife crime: the facts

• The Metropolitan Police has seized over 30,000 endangered species items since 1995.

• In 2008 the Metropolitan Police seized thousands of pounds worth of raw ivory products, some manufactured in the UK, which included 24 whole elephant tusks.

• The world’s largest seizure of rhino horn (including 129 individual horns) was in Kensington, London (Operation Charm, Wildlife Trade: The Facts 2011).

Your support has enabled us to quickly step in to help stop the illegal wildlife trade, but the work doesn’t stop here.

This marks the first milestone in our new wildlife campaign, which will cover a wide range of issues from wildlife crime and illegal trade, to bear sanctuaries and marine welfare concerns over the coming year.

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