By Justin Davenport
The shocking scale of wildlife crime in London ranging from the trapping of songbirds to trading in illicit ivory is revealed in a new report today.
A charity which works with the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit has produced the first detailed picture of crimes against animals in the capital.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals, which part funds the unit, says wildlife crime now ranks among trafficking in drugs, arms and humans in terms of profits.
The global illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be £12 billion a year.
In London, the charity says it has evidence of organised crime gangs smuggling endangered species into the UK while exotic animals are often rescued after being abandoned by owners.
The Met’s wildlife crime unit has seized more than 30,000 items from endangered species since 1995 and deals daily with reports ranging from destruction of habitats to deliberate cruelty to animals.
The WSPA study, entitled The Victims of Wildlife Crime, reveals crimes in London including:
Small songbirds caught illegally for sale by leaving glue traps in gardens.
Badgers being illegally shot, snared, poisoned, baited and their setts damaged in railway embankments and overland sections of the Tube.
Foxes being shot at with airguns or deliberately poisoned.
A haul of illegal ivory seized from a Portobello Road trader.
The discovery of two West Africa dwarf crocodiles in cramped tanks in a flat in Croydon. More....