Wildlife crime

Reporting wildlife crime can help the authorities to quickly and accurately focus their investigations.

Wildlife crime includes:

  • poaching
  • killing protected species
  • disturbing protected species
  • damaging the breeding and resting places of protected species
  • illegally trading in endangered species

How to report a suspected wildlife crime:

If you suspect that a wildlife crime has been committed, call 101, the non-emergency number. If you would like to give information regarding a crime anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you're unsure whether an act constitutes wildlife crime, seek advice from a legal professional or specialist organisation. Many police forces have Wildlife Officers, whilst statutory bodies such as DEFRA and Natural England, may also be able to help.

Be aware that you should always seek qualified legal advice if you are seeking to avoid prosecution or intending to bring a prosecution.

When reporting the event of a wildlife crime:


  • Report any suspicious activity to your local police as soon as possible and ask to speak with their wildlife crime officer.
  • Take notes of date, time and weather conditions.
  • If possible, try to identify the map reference of the location (either by normal or GPS means) by reading both the scene of the incident and the location that the incident was witnessed from.
  • Make notes of a description of the person(s) involved in the incident, including the gender, age, height, clothing, etc.
  • Make note of any vehicle registration numbers, makes and models, as well as colours of vehicles that may be involved in the incident.
  • Try to identify other witnesses present to the incident and gather their name and contact details.
  • If possible, photograph or video the scene, or if unable to do this make a rough sketch of the area.
  • Cover any suspected poisoned baits or victims in order to prevent any other contact by animals or people.
  • Report the incident, even if you are unsure of the event. The evidence of wildlife crimes are not always obvious to see.


  • Disturb the scene by moving items or walking about unnecessarily.
  • Touch dead animals or birds, especially if you suspect poisons to be involved in the incident.
  • Interfere with legal countryside practices, such as the legal use of traps, snares, hides, high seats and shooting butts.
  • Approach suspects or intervene if you suspect someone is committing a wildlife crime. Such actions may put you in unnecessary danger.

Dogs on nature reserves - It is illegal to worry livestock, so we will always ask visitors to our nature reserves to keep dogs on a lead around sheep and cattle. Allowing dogs to foul public pathways can also lead to fines. Read more about our Dogs Policy here.

The Wildlife Trusts is a member of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAWS UK). PAWS UK helps statutory and non-government organisations to work together to combat wildlife crime.

Find out more about UK Wildlife Legislation.

Find out more about European Wildlife Legislation.