The Independent on Sunday 1 November reports
They call us a nation of animal lovers, yet attacks on creatures in their natural habitats have more than doubled across Britain in a year.
Crimes against wildlife, including badger baiting with dogs, hare coursing, poisoning of protected birds and even trapping them to sell as caged pets have soared to unprecedented heights. New figures from the police show that the number of wildlife crimes more than doubled in the last year, from 2,177 to 5,854.
In New Zealand, the kea – the world’s only mountain parrot – was persecuted as it was thought to attack sheep, a myth. The NZ Customs Department, working with the Department of Conservation, know of and try to prevent numerous reptiles, birds and their eggs from leaving New Zealand – as trophies, alive or dead! As a conservation information officer in NZ, I heard many similar stories. Why does this wildlife crime continue and increase?
? Is this indicative of
+our human instinct to hunt, capture animals, or otherwise persecute wild and/or domestic animals illegally
+more sinister tendencies in us to transfer pain and enjoy it?
+economic rewards for animals’ capture or death is higher thn the fines – if the culprit is caught?
Are animals hunted and persecuted illegally in other countries, such as USA?
Wildlife Crimes: Britain’s killing fields?
Highlights of the report http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/wildlife-crime-britains-killing-fields-1812915.html
* In 2008, the RSPCA investigated 140,000 cases of animal cruelty in England and Wales, a steep rise from the 2003 figure of 105,000.
* One of the sharpest rises has been in what police call “badger persecution”, a term that includes badgers being dug out of their setts, pitted against terrier dogs in fights, and being shot by farmers, landowners or their agents. This resurgence in badger persecution that they say is being driven, in part, by the perceived threat to livestock from bovine tuberculosis.
* Crimes against bats have increased by 10 per cent a year since 2007, and the loss of one roost can be a severe blow to populations that are already vulnerable, according to the Bat Conservation Trust. Last year, the RSPB received 1,206 reports of shooting, poisoning, trapping and disturbance of birds and their eggs – the second highest they have ever recorded.
* The theft of wild flowers is also taking its toll on Britain’s biodiversity. In May this year, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust had to issue a warning to visitors to its nature reserve near Sapperton after a spate of bluebell thefts.
Detective Inspector Brian Stuart, head of the NWCU (National Wildlife Crime Unit), said: “There is an increase in wildlife crime in general. We are seeking to use wider policing powers, such as the Proceeds of Crime Act, to target criminals where it hurts them most – in their pocket.”