Reporting incidents of potential wildlife crime
As birders, birdwatchers, walkers or simply folk who enjoy being in the countryside, there may be occasions whilst you’re out and about that you stumble across something that doesn’t seem/feel quite right.
This might include coming across a freshly dead bird of prey, a rabbit lying on a tree stump, a Buzzard in a “cage” on a moor, a spring trap on a post or out in the open, hens eggs lying on a hillside……
There may be a perfectly innocent explanation for what you’ve found, however you may just have stumbled across the scene of a potential wildlife crime.
Here are a few key pointers for what to do if you find yourself in this situation….
DO NOT TOUCH!
If it is a crime scene, it is important that any evidence is not disturbed. It is also possible that a dead animal has eaten, or been laced with, very toxic chemicals. If you have a dog with you, keep it away. It is also important that you do not touch any traps or snares – if they have been legally set and you interfere with them, you may be committing an offence. You may also do yourself an injury.
Take a careful note of what you have found (e.g. a dead Buzzard).
Note the date, time and location – ideally with a GPS device or get a grid reference. Imagine someone who has never been there before trying to locate the spot.
If you can, take some photographs, including images of the surrounding area
Note any other relevant information e.g. people or vehicles seen nearby
PLEASE REPORT IT!!
If you witness an on-going incident, (e.g. someone climbing a tree in which Ospreys are nesting) dial 101 and ask for the Wildlife Crime Department.
If you come across the aftermath of a potential incident, contact the local police force and ask for the message to be passed to a Wildlife Crime Officer. If you wish to report the incident anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. See also here.
If there are concerns over the welfare of a live animal (eg caught in a trap or snare), contact the SSPCA on 03000 999 999.
Any incidents related to wild birds can also be reported to the RSPB Scotland Investigations team:
Ian Thomson (07887 596004)
Elsie Ashworth (07803955204)
James Leonard (07841 894672)
Please do report any potential incidents. Your find may help stop the illegal poisoning of a Golden Eagle, help convict an egg collector, or prevent a Goshawk starving to death in a trap.
For further information, see also: