European Countries Establish Wildlife Crime Reporting Systems
Most people know that rhino, tiger and elephant species are being pushed to the edge of extinction. Unfortunately, lesser-known and less iconic species are threatened as well. This is caused by wildlife crime, which threatens the future of many protected animal and plant species and can even result in extinction.
More and more criminals participate in wildlife trafficking, due to higher payments and lower penalties. (NOS, 2016). Also, wildlife crime is closely related to other types of crime and can generate income for large criminal enterprises. Such criminals often participate in drug trafficking, money laundering and arms trafficking.
Also in Europe, wildlife trafficking and other types of wildlife crime are happening right now. Too often the nests and dens of protected wildlife such as raptors, foxes and badgers are pillaged or destroyed. In the worst case, the animals are injured, poisoned or shot. Some other examples of wildlife crime in Europe are poaching of wildlife and smuggling of protected species or parts of them (GOV.UK) (Wildlife Crime). To fight this, several countries have established reporting services where people can report (suspected) wildlife crime. All the gathered reports are used to fight this type of crime. Wildlife crime has to stop!
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a large charity for the conservation of nature in the United Kingdom. As a member of BirdLife International and partner of worldwide nature conservation programs, protecting threatened bird species is at the very heart of the organisation. To do this, RSPB analyses the threats against birds and environment. The analysis is of fundamental importance to their work. Additionally, RSPB is a reporting point and has its own reporting form which can be found at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/. When there is no emergency, people can report wildlife crime on wild birds at the RSPB. This includes bird of prey persecution, the illegal trapping and capturing of birds, illegal trade and egg collecting. By filling in the reporting form, people help RSPB, police forces and other agencies to fight wildlife crime against birds in the UK (RSPB, n.d.).
Another reporting point for wildlife crime is Wildlife Crime in the Netherlands. This is an initiative of the Friese Milieu Federatie (non-profit organisation) and is supported by several nature and environment organisations. A report can be submitted at: www.wildlifecrime.eu. At this website, you will find a link that directs you to the reporting page.
Different kinds of wildlife crime such as poisoning, poaching, injuring and killing can be reported. The reports of these types of crime go directly to special investigating officers or police officers who will start an investigation. All the gathered reports are mapped to make an action plan against wildlife crime.
Wildlife Crime also started a petition which is focused on the approach and prevention of wildlife crime. With the help of 10.000 signatures, Wildlife Crime wants to make the government aware of the importance of fighting wildlife crime in The Netherlands. The petition can be signed at www.wildlifecrime.eu/petitie.
These reporting points help to address a crucial issue. Wildlife crime is happening right now, not only in southern countries but also in our backyards and it needs to be stopped! A lot of wildlife crime is hidden and not publically mentioned or discussed. Report wildlife crime when spotted!
Author: Mickey Tromp
Friese Milieu Federatie
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