The beautiful outdoor settings in Highland Perthshire are a temptation to locals and tourists alike but police Scotland have outlined criminal offences that could occur regarding wildlife.
A Police Scotland Representative said:
“We have a duty to protect Scotland’s environment and this includes tackling wildlife crime in all its forms.
“Wildlife Crime is any illegal act in Scotland affecting certain birds, animals, and plants including their habitats.
“It includes the illegal disturbance, destruction, theft, and sale of animals and plants both in the countryside and urban areas, and also the damage and destruction of protected habitats.
“Wildlife Crime poses significant harm to the species targeted by the criminals, as well as the communities who rely on wildlife for employment and tourism.”
Examples of types of Wildlife Crime include:
- Damage to Sites of Special Scientific Interest
- The disturbance of sea mammals
- Illegal use of traps and snares
- Illegal cockle picking
- Removal of birds nests from the eves of houses at certain times of the year.
There are currently seven specific Wildlife Crime Priorities in Scotland and the UK.
- Bat Crime
- Badger Persecution
- Raptor (Birds of Prey) Persecution
- Freshwater Pearl Mussels Persecution
- CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Issues
- 7 Cyber Enabled Wildlife Crime
If you suspect a wildlife crime is/has taken place
- Report any suspicious activity as soon as possible to Police Scotland on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency, and ask to speak to a Wildlife Crime Officer if one is available
- Take note of the date, time, and weather conditions
- If possible, identify a map reference using the My Three Words app, or ideally a GPS reading of both the incident scene and location from where you witnessed the incident
- Note a description of person/s involved including gender, age, height, clothing, etc.
- Write down any vehicle registration numbers, make, model, and colour that may be involved
- Identify other witnesses and obtain their name and contact details
- If possible, video or photograph the scene, or make a rough sketch
- Cover up any suspected poisoned baits or victims to prevent any animal or person from coming into contact with them.
- Do report. Even if you are not sure – report the incident. The evidence of wildlife crime is not always obvious.
- Do not disturb the scene by moving items or walking about unnecessarily
- Do not touch dead animals or birds, especially if you suspect that poison may have been used
- Do not interfere with legal countryside practices such as the legal use of traps and snares, hides, high seats, and shooting butts.
- Never approach suspects or intervene if you suspect someone is committing a wildlife crime – you may put yourself in danger.
Although any officer can investigate wildlife crime, every Division in Police Scotland has a Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer and there is also a network of part-time Wildlife Crime Officers across the force.
These officers can be contacted to report a crime or to seek advice on wildlife crime matters. Call Police Scotland on 101 to report a wildlife crime or email us at Contactus@scotland.pnn.police.uk
You can learn more about what wildlife crime is and what the UK priorities are in relation to it on the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit website.