A new annual report on wildlife crime produced by the Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) has highlighted the worrying levels of unwitnessed or unreported incidents, shockingly low conviction rates and continued exploitation of wildlife.
Just 10 people were convicted of wildlife crimes in England and Wales last year, excluding convictions for fisheries crimes.
WDC contributed a section on whale and dolphin crime to the report, which also raises a concerning lack of progress by the National Police Chiefs' Council wildlife crime strategy in reducing crime and increasing prosecutions. Bats, birds, badgers, seals, dolphins, reptiles and many other creatures are harmed by hunters, poachers, criminals and even normally law-abiding members of the public every year.
WDC has been running an public awareness project (Rude to Intrude) to try to raise the profile of existing marine mammal laws, what constitutes good behaviour by members of the public that use recreational vessels, and also how to gather the evidence of crimes required to report incidents (including photographic and video footage).
WDC continues to also work with the National Wildlife Crime Unit but as the report demonstrates, awareness and ability to deal with marine wildlife crime needs to be maintained and improved, including among wildlife crime officers.
DONATE to help WDC protect whales and dolphins.