ALYN and Deeside’s MP is backing calls from conservation and animal welfare charities for the Government to take tougher action on crimes against wildlife.

Mark Tami MP says that “the days of badger baiting, peregrine poisoning and bat butchering must end” and calls on the Government and police forces to crack down on crimes against wildlife.

The Third Annual Wildlife Crime report, published this week by Wildlife and Countryside Link and Wales Environment Link, revealed a total of 1,324 reports of alleged wildlife crime incidents against bats, badgers, birds of prey, amphibians, reptiles and marine mammals recorded in 2018.

This compares to 1287 in 2017 and 1130 in 2016.

Despite the increase in reporting of wildlife crimes, the number of convictions remains very low, with just 11 convictions for these types of crimes last year.

Crimes against badgers, birds of prey and bats remain among the most common wildlife crimes reported. Also noteworthy is that the number of reports of marine mammal disturbances have more than doubled this year.

Mark Tami MP said: “It is disgraceful that so many of our precious wild animals are being killed or injured every year, but this problem is being masked by a lack of adequate recording of these crimes. I know that people across Alyn and Deeside care deeply about our wildlife and I am calling on our Government and police forces to crack down on crimes against wildlife through better reporting, resourcing and redress in the courts. The days of badger baiting, peregrine poisoning and bat butchering must end.”

Mr Tami is joining Wildlife and Countryside Link and Wales Environment Link coalitions in calling for the Home Office to introduce specific police wildlife crime codes and produce an annual report analysing wildlife crime trends and helping direct funding and resources accordingly.

There are also hopes that Defra and the Home Office will commit to adequate long-term funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit, to effectively tackle wildlife crime and develop additional resources to respond to the growing threat of wildlife crime facilitated online

Pressure is also being put on the Government to progress the Animal Welfare Bill through parliament, ensuring tougher sentences which are appropriate to the torture and killing of sentient animals and police forces are being asked to help raise awareness of wildlife crimes in their communities

Pete Charleston, chair of Link’s Wildlife Crime Working Group and Conservation Wildlife Crime Officer for the Bat Conservation Trust, said: “The abuse and persecution of wildlife will remain invisible, and go unpunished, unless crimes against wildlife are effectively recorded and assessed. Wildlife crime police officers are hugely dedicated, but they need funding certainty and resources to catch these criminals, and tougher sentences available to ensure criminals face a punishment fit for their crime.”