Wildlife and the Law
Whilst the law governs many things in life, it is often overlooked in the dealings people have with animals, often to the detriment of the wildlife in question. In most cases people are simply unaware of the law governing wildlife protection in this country, something which is easily remedied.
Spring and the start of the breeding season are the worst times for people to be interfering with wildlife. Disturbance at a vulnerable nest site or location can cause desertion where the species does not return. Bats in particular are especially sensitive to disturbance and fines up to £5000 can be levied.
The increase in quality of affordable cameras and the ease of information gathering attributed to the internet, has led to people hunting out nest sites and locations of vulnerable creatures, even baiting with food in order to get (and show off) that perfect shot. Whilst we all want to get great photos, people must be aware of vulnerable species and the law governing them. Anything that upsets or disturbs vulnerable species can be breaking the law.
Particular Species that are included on the Schedule 1 list (http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3203) are birds such as the Barn Owl, Kingfisher, Chough and Peregrine Falcon; and Schedule 5 (http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-1815) species such as Water Vole, Otter, Dormouse as well as all bats.
You need a license to photograph the nest sites of Schedule 1 birds, something many people do not realise.
If you find a nest site or the location of a vulnerable animal species, it’s best to keep it to yourself and not post it on the internet. Nest sites are generally closely guarded by the wildlife organisations that look after them, and any publication, be it on the internet or elsewhere can only damage the chances of the animals at the site. If you’re to tell anyone it should be your local Wildlife Trust who are in a position to help protect it should it need it.
For further information, please see the JNCC notes on the Wildlife and Countryside Act
Also see Natural England’s Wildlife Management and Licensing section here: