There are many drivers for wildlife crime. Profit, pleasure, tradition, culture, livelihoods; all of these factors present different facets of wildlife crime. Wildlife crime affects both native and exotic species.

London is a major hub and commercial centre, with a very large, cosmopolitan population. In addition it is home to a large number of wild animals and plants that are protected by law.

All the drivers for wildlife crime are present in London and as a consequence almost any type of wildlife crime is committed in London, or by people from London who travel and commit crime in other cities or countries.

The Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit and Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL) have formed a partnership to map wildlife crime data for London with the aim of raising public awareness and increasing the reporting of wildlife crimes in the capital. 

World Animal Protection, who were additionally involved in setting up the project, held a poll by YouGov that revealed that 51% of Londoners are not aware of wildlife crime in London and 91% are not aware of the Wildlife Crime Unit. The map provides the perfect opportunity to expose wildlife crime and therefore encourage Londoners to see its impact in their own communities.

From August 2013 the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit began collecting reports of wildlife crime – data which is now used to populate the map and is updated on a monthly basis. This data consists of individual intelligence records sanitised and simplified down to relevant specifics (month, location, species affected, brief description of the incident, outcome). This is suitable for public consumption and does not provide information that would be potentially useful for criminals.

GiGL's online map displays three layers of wildlife crime information: 

Case Studies: These demonstrate the wide range of wildlife crime that occurs in London.

Last Month: The coloured triangles show wildlife crime reported in the last calendar month. Each colour represents a different type of wildlife crime (hover over the ? symbol for a key to the colours). Crimes are reported to the ward level.

Six Month Overview: This provides an overview of all wildlife crime reported by borough. At the moment data displayed is for the last six months of 2015 (July - December).

World Animal ProtectionWorld Animal Protection (formally the World Society for the Protection of Animals - WSPA) seeks to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended. Active in more than 50 countries, they work directly with animals and with the people and organisations that can ensure animals are treated with respect and compassion. World Animal Protection hold consultative status at the Council of Europe and collaborate with national governments and the United Nations.

World Animal Protection have worked with the Metropolitan Police's Widlife Crime Unit since 2012 when the funding for the Unit came under threat. This unique partnership raised the profile of the Widlife Crime Unit and provided them with vital funding and resources. With the future of the Unit now secured, World Animal Protection will still work closely to raise awareness and support projects such as this online map of wildlife crime.

Metropolitan Police logoThe Wildlife Crime Unit comprises a small team of specialist officers and staff who have been appointed for their expertise and experience in wildlife matters. They lead the Metropolitan Police's work on wildlife crime.

They deal not only with local, borough-based wildlife crime but also national and international problems that can have an impact upon London. They also support designated wildlife crime officers based in local boroughs across the Met. They work alongside other police Units such as the Marine Police Unit, Royal Parks police and Met Special Constabulary.

Part of the Specialist Crime Directorate, the Wildlife Crime Unit also shares intelligence with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and conducts joint operations with the UK Border Agency relating to the illegal trade in endangered species.