Wildlife Crime

HC 140, Third Report of Session 2012-13 - Volume I: Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

House of Commons - Environmental Audit Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)

According to the report 'Wildlife Crime (HC 140)', wildlife legislation has become so complex that prosecutions fail and even specialist enforcement professionals struggle to implement it effectively.

Hundreds of birds of prey have been deliberately poisoned with substances such as carbofuran that have no legal use, and the Government could easily make possession an offence.

The lack of sentencing guidelines on wildlife offences means that some offenders are being neither punished nor deterred in the courts. The Crown Prosecution Service is also failing to train its prosecutors to handle complex wildlife cases; and the inflexible implementation in UK law of international agreements, covering the trafficking of endangered species, squanders limited resources.

The Government has maintained funding for specialist wildlife crime investigation and enforcement, but this is provided on an ad hoc basis, reducing operational effectiveness. Funding provided to monitor wildlife crime on the internet was too short-term to attract a suitably qualified individual to fill the post.

In 2004, the Committee called for a new database to record all wildlife crime but this has still not been introduced.

Internationally, this report also examines how the rhino, tiger and elephant are being driven to extinction by the growing demand for illegal wildlife products in south-east Asia and China. The Government needs to exert robust diplomatic pressure in favour of the development and enforcement of wildlife law at the next Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) meeting, in March 2013.

The Government should focus attention on the damaging effect of 'one-off' sales of impounded ivory, which has been found to actually fuel demand for ivory products, and seek an unequivocal international ban on all forms of ivory trade.

Extent 218 pages ISBN 9780215049469
Size A4 Price £22.00
Format Paperback Published 18 Oct 2012
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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