Wildlife crime is prevalent both worldwide and here in the UK. The issues are complicated and can be difficult to navigate without proper training and guidance.
What is Wildlife Crime?

This is not easy, particularly as there is no legal definition. However the believe is; In general, wildlife crime is any action which contravenes current legislation governing the protection of the UK’s wild animals and plants and includes:

  • Hare Coursing
  • Deer Poaching
  • Fish Poaching
  • Birds of Prey Persecution (poisoning, trapping, shooting, disturbance of nest/theft of chicks)
  • Non registration of certain birds and animals that require licensing through DEFRA/Animal Health if kept in captivity or sold. 
  • Bat Persecution 
  • Egg theft/collection
  • Badger Persecution (baiting, snaring, shooting, 
         disturbance of setts)
  • The trade in ivory, tortoises, rhino horn and other protected species covered by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) including caviar, traditional Chinese medicines, and orchids

And so, what is NOT wildlife crime?

  • Wild animals that have been involved in road traffic accidents
  • Incidents involving domestic animals such as dogs (other than dogs being used to hunt mammals), cats, rabbits, budgies, etc.
What is the National Wildlife Crime Unit?

Since its launch in 2006 the National Wildlife Crime Unit has carried out annual strategic assessments of the criminality affecting UK wildlife. In February 2011, senior Government and enforcement officers reviewed the 2010 assessment and agreed six UK wildlife crime priorities for 2011-2013. These priorities were announced at the PAW Open Seminar on 2 March 2011 and are:


  • Badger persecution,

  • Bat persecution,

  • Illegal trade in CITES species (with 3 sub-priorities of ivory, tortoises, traditional medicines including rhino horn),

  • Freshwater pearl mussels,

  • Poaching

  • Raptor persecution (including poisoning, egg theft, chick theft and nest disturbance/destruction with a focus on peregrine, golden eagle, goshawk, hen harrier, red kite and white-tailed eagle).

What is PAW?

As a member of PAW we fully support it's objectives and will at all times do everything possible to work towards achieving them.


The PAW mission statement is ‘working in partnership to reduce wildlife crime through effective and targeted enforcement, better regulation and improved awareness’.

PAW UKs overarching objectives are:


  • To facilitate effective enforcement to ensure that wildlife crime is tackled professionally;

  • To influence the improvement of wildlife enforcement legislation; and

  • To raise awareness of wildlife legislation and the implications of wildlife crime. (www.defra.gov.uk/paw/)

Getting in touch:

Do you want to learn more about protecting our species, understand the laws, and what you can do to help?

The please get in touch.