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Wildlife Crime Seminar North Yorkshire Police and YDNPA staff

Wildlife crime

Working with moorland managers and other key stakeholders to devise and implement a local approach to end illegal persecution of raptors in the National Park is one of the objectives agreed by the Authority and a wide range of local partner organisations in the National Park Management Plan 2019-24.

North Yorkshire has more confirmed incidents of raptor persecution than any other county in England, and is a situation that North Yorkshire Police and others are determined to tackle.  Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds.  Nevertheless birds of prey (raptors) are still shot, poisoned and trapped – especially in some areas where the land is managed for driven grouse shooting.

If you come across anything suspicious please report it to North Yorkshire Police, either on 999 if you witness a crime being committed, or, if you want to report a suspicious incident, then ring 101. If you want to speak in confidence about raptor persecution you can contact the RSPB hotline on 0300 9990101.

A wildlife crime is basically any activity that breaches the legislation that is in place to protect wild animals in the UK.  There are various different types of wildlife crime, including poaching and hare coursing, but in many upland areas of the country, such as the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the illegal poisoning, trapping and shooting of birds of prey and owls is a particular problem.  There is robust evidence that, for species such as hen harrier and peregrine, this illegal activity is limiting the status of the species in the uplands.

Animal carcases laced with poison are sometimes deliberately used to kill other wildlife, particularly birds of prey. This is cruel and illegal, and such poisoned bait is also a serious risk to the health of members of the public and their children or pets, should they come in to contact with it.

Please be aware that not all trapping methods are illegal, and that many responsible land managers will use legal methods to control certain species of birds and mammals. However, some methods, such as the pole traps shown in the first video below, are illegal and should be reported to the police immediately.

Who to Contact:

If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action call 999 immediately and ask for the police.

If you are unsure or have a concern about a wildlife crime call your local Police on 101 and ask that the details are passed on to a Wildlife Crime Officer.  Alternatively, contact North Yorkshire Police.

If you want to speak in confidence about raptor persecution you can contact the RSPB hotline on 0300 9990101.

The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) was established to assist in the prevention and detection of wildlife crime. More details of their work can be found on their website.

The RSPB Investigations Team also has many years of experience of investigating and combatting wildlife crime.  There is further information on the Investigations Team, and advice on what to do if you come across an incident, on their website.

Operation Owl

Be Our Eyes and Ears

Help us to stop bird of prey persecution by recognising, recording and reporting.