Wildlife crime

Wildlife Crime

Protecting wildlife

Wildlife laws are in place to protect nature; these laws operate at UK and European levels. Wildlife crime can take many forms and it can be difficult to know what constitutes a crime. They can range from organised crimes (such as the trade in endangered species) to people shooting at birds with air guns. We have listed examples below of wildlife crime and if you believe you may have witnessed any of these, please share this information to assist in bringing offenders to justice. Read below what constitutes a wildlife crime and how you can report it. Further information on Wildlife Crime can be found on our governing body website The Wildlife Trust

What is wildlife crime?

Wildlife crime includes:


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

How to report

If you suspect that a wildlife crime has been committed, call 101, the non-emergency number. 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.

If you witness a wildlife crime taking place, call 999

For a non-emergency, call 101

If you would like to give information regarding a crime anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

For more information on what to do if you witness a wildlife crime, click here, or explore these links for more on UK LegislationEuropean Legislation, and International Conventions.


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
European Legislation
International Conventions
Wildlife Crime Aware

Staffordshire Police Rural & Wildlife Crime Unit

Help protect wildlife

Become a member today