Northern Ireland supports a rich diversity of plants and animals due in large measure to our rich variety of landscapes and habitats, whether terrestrial or marine.
Many habitats and the species that they support are under threat, often from the direct or indirect effects of man’s activities. Some examples of these habitats enjoy a degree of protection, such as National Nature Reserves (NNR) or Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
However, much of our wildlife exists outside such protected areas. If these species are to be conserved then they often require some form of direct protection from activities that can damage their conservation status or lead to their mistreatment.
What is wildlife crime?
Wildlife crime includes offences like poaching, killing or disturbing protected species or damaging their breeding and resting places, and illegally trading in endangered species.
It is one of the pressures that can push animal and plant species closer to extinction. Some wildlife crimes, such as badger-baiting and the illegal use of poisons and traps, can cause animals unnecessary pain and suffering.
Further advice is available on the Wildlife Crime NI website.
Where you suspect that an incident is a wildlife crime then you should report it to the local PSNI either at the nearest police station or by telephoning 101.
Make sure you state that you believe a 'wildlife crime' has taken place and always ask for crime reference number to allow you to follow up any action.