UK

UK National Wildlife Crime Unit Receives Further Funding, Its Successes Show Why We Need It

01/03/2016 20:13 GMT | Updated 01/03/2016 21:59 GMT

The UK's National Wildlife Crime Unit was granted another four years of funding on Tuesday following mounting pressure from animal protection charities about the potential ramifications should it close.

The unit was opened in 2006 and since then it has thwarted a staggering number of wildlife crimes, from tiger parts being used for jewellery to falcon eggs being sold on the black market.

Animal charities have welcomed today's news that the "exceptionally important" unit will stay open.

Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK, said: "Given the government’s highly vocal commitment to protecting endangered wildlife internationally, it would have been absurd to withdraw funding from the NWCU, creating an open season for wildlife crime in our own backyard.

"The essential work of this unit deserves long-term, cross-party funding commitment, so that it does not labour under the threat of closure every few years."

Josh Kaile, Head of Public Affairs at World Animal Protection, said: "Today's announcement that the National Wildlife Crime Unit has secured 4 years of funding needed for its work is fantastic news for British wildlife.

"World Animal Protection has been leading the fight to save the National Wildlife Crime Unit for many months and it is clear the Government has now listened to the voice of the UK public. It is a victory for animal protection that resources have been secured long-term to fight wildlife crime both home and abroad."

Here we look at eight of the unit's biggest successes:

UK National Wildlife Crime Unit successes

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Defra and the Home Office will each provide the NWCU with funding of £136,000 a year for the next four financial years.

Defra will provide an additonal (up to) £29,000 a year over the next four years for specific work to tackle wildlife crime conducted online, as a developing area of global criminal activity.