Wildlife Crimes

Wildlife Crimes

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The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Wildlife – Birds

The Act makes it an offence to intentionally:

  • kill, injure, or take any wild bird,
  • take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built (also [take, damage or destroy the nest of a wild bird included in Schedule ZA1] under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006), or
  • take or destroy an egg of any wild bird.

Special penalties are available for offences related to birds listed on Schedule 1, for which there are additional offences of disturbing these birds at their nests, or their dependent young.

The Secretary of State may also designate Areas of Special Protection (subject to exceptions) to provide further protection to birds.

The Act also prohibits certain methods of killing, injuring, or taking birds, restricts the sale and possession of captive bred birds, and sets standards for keeping birds in captivity.

Wildlife – other animals

The Act makes it an offence to intentionally ([or recklessly] – only under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004) kill, injure or take any wild animal listed on Schedule 5, and prohibits interference with places used for shelter or protection, or intentionally disturbing animals occupying such places.

The Act also prohibits certain methods of killing, injuring, or taking wild animals.

(The original text is available and an updated version is available on Legislation.gov.uk website).

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