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Northumbria Police has dedicated officers to manage wildlife crime and liaise with partner organisations like the National Wildlife Crime Unit, RSPB and local wildlife trusts.

There are around 150 different laws designed to protect wildlife in the UK.

Wildlife crime can push rare animals and plants closer to extinction. It can cause suffering to animals and be linked to other serious crimes like drug trafficking. You can help by reporting suspected wildlife crime to Northumbria police.

We are responsible for enforcing the law in relation to:

  • Illegal hunting of wild mammals
  • Damaging protected sites
  • Illegal poisoning of wildlife
  • Disturbing cetaceans
  • Stealing wild plants
  • Illegal hunting and poaching
  • Illegal trade in endangered species killing, injuring, taking, distributing wild birds
  • Taking/possessing/destroying wild bird eggs/nest disturbance
  • Badger persecution
  • Killing, injuring, taking disturbing wild bats
  • Illegal trapping/snaring of wild animals

FAQ

I’m concerned for the welfare of a wild animal, what should I do?

If the animal is a wild bird or a mammal smaller than the size of a rabbit, the quickest way to get help is to contact a local vet or rehabilitation centre as they will not usually charge for treating wildlife. If the sick or injured wild animal is larger than a rabbit please contact the RSPCA. If you believe there has been a wildlife crime, you should report this to Northumbria Police.

Can I remove a tree or bush if it has a bird’s nest?

Generally all wild birds’ nests are protected whilst being built or in use, even those of species regarded as pests like seagulls. Some birds receive additional protection and should not even be disturbed whilst building or using their nests. Care should be taken when removing any bush or tree particularly in spring and early summer when birds are nesting. If in doubt seek advice. If you suspect birds’ nests are being damage or destroyed you should contact the police.

Can I pick wild flowers?

You can pick most common wild flowers, provided that you are not picking them to sell. You should not uproot any plant without permission.

Is all hunting illegal?

It is an offence to hunt a wild mammal with a dog. Hunting is defined as to pursue wild animals for food or sport. All wild mammals even those widely regarded as pests like rats and rabbits are included but some forms of hunting are exempt, for details please visit https://www.gov.uk/hunting/mammals.

It should be noted that traditional “Foxhunts” still go out with packs of hounds to trail or drag hunt, this is where a scent trail is laid for hounds to follow. This activity is not unlawful and the presence of riders on horseback accompanied by hounds does not mean offences are being committed.

If you believe animals are being hunted unlawfully you should contact the police.

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