Wildlife crime

A rural area of NorthumberlandA river in rural NorthumberlandAlnwick Castle, Northumberland


There are around 150 different laws designed to protect wildlife in the UK and many more global controls that we have adopted.

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 here.

U.K. Borders Agency are responsible for the enforcement of controls on trade between the UK and non-EC states, but enforcement within the UK is the responsibility of the police.  The police service is 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, disturbing etc. wild birds
  • Taking/possessing/destroying wild birds eggs/nest disturbance
  • Badger persecution
  • Killing, injuring, taking, disturbing etc. wild bats
  • Illegal trapping/snaring of wild animals

Wildlife crime law enforcement is a specialist area of policing, often requiring assistance from people working outside the police service. 

There are many types of wildlife crime, but most involve:

  • People being cruel to wild animals

  • People buying, selling, harming or disturbing wild animals or plants that are protected by law

Why stopping wildlife crime matters

It’s important to stop wildlife crime because it can:

  • Reduce numbers of rare animals and plants and push them closer to extinction
  • Cause animals pain and suffering

  • Be linked to other serious crime, like drugs, money laundering and firearms offences

Help stop wildlife crime!