A newly formed sector of the Ministry of the Interior will deal with wildlife crimes

A newly formed sector of the Ministry of the Interior will deal with wildlife crimes

 At the beginning of the year, a new sector - "Crimes against the environment and wildlife", was created in the Economic Police department of the General Directorate of the National Police.

The role of the newly formed structure is operative-investigative, informational, it will include coordination and logistics for the prevention and counteraction of crimes under Art. 235-239, 278c-278d, Art. 349 and Art. 352-354 of the Criminal Code. These include forests; game animals; fish and other aquatic organisms; protected areas and habitats; protected species; drinking water; pollution of soil, air, water basins, groundwater, seawater; waste treatment facilities; waste management; hazardous waste management: export and import of waste; hazardous substances; substances that disrupt the ozone layer; aquifer facilities; mineral waters for economic activities; poisonous substances, etc.

The creation of the new sector is in compliance with Directive 2008/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council from 19 November 2008 regarding the protection of the environment through criminal law.

It is the result of the long-term efforts and work of a number of Bulgarian non-governmental organizations, including Green Balkans, in cooperation with representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Ministry of Interior.

We, from Green Balkans and in particular our Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre, have been cooperating with the authorities for years to solve a number of cases of crimes against protected species - shooting, use of poison baits, illegal possession of protected species, robbing nests, violations in protected areas amongst others. With the formation of this specialised sector of the Ministry of the Interior, we believe that the cases of fighting wildlife crimes will no longer be failed efforts of a handful of environmentalists, but become an example of good practices and that in the future those who break the law will be punished accordingly for the violations committed by them.