World Animal Protection maps crimes against wildlife in London

The charity has launched an interactive online map revealing the extent of wildlife crime in each of the capital's boroughs

World Animal Protection's new interactive map
World Animal Protection's new interactive map

What is it?

The UK branch of the conservation charity World Animal Protection has launched an interactive online map showing instances of wildlife crime in each London borough.

What’s on the map?

Users are able to search the map and view short summaries of the types of crime that have occured in a particular area in the past six months, as well as detailed case studies. These include the discovery of West African dwarf crocodiles in a house in Croydon, the illegal sale of bush meat on a Hackney market and a shop stocking elephant ivory in Kensington and Chelsea. The map will be updated monthly with new information.

Why is the charity doing it?

World Animal Protection wants the map, which was created in partnership with the Greenspace Information for Greater London project and the Metropolitan Police, to show the types of crime that people report and which areas of London are hotspots for police intelligence. It hopes the project will increase awareness of wildlife crime in the capital and encourage the public to recognise and report it.

What else?

A series of infographics that illustrate data from the map are available on the charity's website. These include a breakdown of the number of wildlife crimes by borough (Richmond was the highest, with 26 instances between January and July; Newham and Lewisham were lowest, with two respectively) and a breakdown of the most common categories of wildlife crime.

World Animal Protection has also released a report this week that criticises low sentences for wildlife offences and calls for secure long-term funding for Britain’s national wildlife crime unit.

Has it received press coverage?

The map has received media coverage in publications including the London Evening Standard and The Daily Telegraph.

What the charity says

The charity's campaigns officer, Christina Dixon, says the map was designed as a "visual tool" to make the public aware of the extent of the wildlife crime that happens in the capital. "London is home to a surprising range of wild animals, many protected by law," she says. "Sadly, they face widespread and wide-ranging crimes.

"We hope this map allows for more understanding of the impact of these terrible crimes on our wildlife".

Third Sector verdict

This is a really interesting way to illustrate the extent of wildlife crime and show how important the work of charities such as World Animal Protection is – even in an urban area such as London. However, it would have been good to see the charity shouting more about this fascinating data on social media.

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