A few months back I was invited to a wildlife and countryside protection meeting by my local police force, Staffordshire Police, after emailing them about a campaign set up by BAWC (Birds against Wildlife Crime) and The Wildoutside. They have annual meetings where different organisations will attend from around the county. These organisations included Staffordshire Badger Trust, West Midlands Hedgehog rescue, Staffordshire County Council, National Farmers Union, The Forestry Commission and a few more. Even though some of the organisations might have different ideas and thoughts about the natural world, at the meeting the only thing that we all wanted to do was help prevent wildlife crime.
I knew nothing about the prevention of wildlife crime in my area until I went to the meeting. I was so pleased to see that they take protecting wildlife so seriously in my county. Everyone there had a good understanding of the natural world and the crimes we discussed varied from fish poaching to fly tipping and disturbance at badgers setts. At the end I got the opportunity to speak to some individuals which was very interesting and I was also invited to go along to the Staffordshire Badger Trusts vaccination scheme when it started up next year which I was very pleased about. I would like to thank the Staffordshire Police for inviting me to the meeting and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Even though what the Staffordshire police and organisations it’s in partnership with do is fantastic, wildlife crime still goes on in my county and throughout the UK. One of the main reasons for this is that members of the public don’t realise that what they’ve seen is against the law and therefore don’t report it. To make sure this doesn’t carry on and people do understand what to look for, how it happens and why it happens we need to make them aware and that’s were a campaign called Wildlife Crime Aware comes in.
Wildlife Crime Aware was originally founded by The Wildoutside but are now partnered with BAWC (Birds Against Wildlife Crime). The Wildoutside is a group that encourage people to get out and about to see the natural world then share their findings. BAWC is an independent campaign group that’s aim is to fight back against wildlife crime. Together they work together as different organisations with a common goal to stop wildlife crime and inform the public. This change in public awareness and opinion will give them more eyes in the field and lead to political changes and a positive change.
To find out more about how you can help stop wildlife crime and identify it yourself here are some links with some more information:
Wildlife Crime Aware Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/wildlifecrimeaware
The Wildoutside website – http://thewildoutside.com/
Birds against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) website – http://birdersagainst.org/
Please help make a difference as our wildlife is in quite serious trouble at the moment and the reason for this is because of human beings. We need to work together and fight against wildlife crime so that in years to come the wildlife that makes up our landscapes can thrive again. There are obviously other problems that are putting wildlife at risk but wildlife crime is a big one.
One individual species that you can help fight for and protect is the Hen Harrier. In the past 60 years grouse shooting (driven grouse shooting) interests have persecuted the Hen Harrier to such an extent that it is almost extinct. In 2013 only 2 pairs nested in England. Lots of great work has been done, especially recently, to help save these birds and fight for them. For example the keen work of a fellow young wildlife enthusiast and conservationist, Findlay Wilde, who build his very own Hen Harrier to help raise awareness for them. You can read all about it by clicking on his blog here – http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/
You can also help our Hen Harriers by signing this petition set up by Mark Avery to ban driven grouse shooting – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65627