In 2017 the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime Northern Ireland (PAW NI) submitted a funding bid to the Department of Justice Assets Recovery Community Scheme (ARCS). One of the aims of this scheme is to benefit the environment through prevention of crime.
The project, Hawk-Eyes, has three key aims;
- Promotion and awareness of wildlife crime and PAW NI
- Deployment of wildlife monitoring cameras for the purposes of protecting vulnerable birds of prey (‘Raptor-Cam‘)
- Deployment of remote tracking devices on birds of prey to monitor movements, raise awareness, and hone in on the perpetrators of raptor persecution (e.g. shooting, poisoning and trapping) (‘Raptor-Track‘)
PAW NI want the communities of Northern Ireland to ‘Watch Out For Wildlife Crime‘ – with the public’s help and specialised technologies deployed through Hawk-Eyes, criminals will never know when and where they are being watched! Remember, if you see any suspicious behaviour call PSNI on ‘101‘ and tell them you suspect a wildlife crime.
All birds of prey, also termed ‘raptors’, are protected by law in Northern Ireland which makes it illegal to trap or kill these birds, or disturb them during the breeding season. It is also illegal to collect their eggs. Many raptor species are declining, recovering from historic declines, or are vulnerable to various ongoing threats and pressures, and protective laws are essential to conserve these species. However, many birds of prey are intentionally illegally killed each year due to conflict with other interests, or misconceptions about their behaviour.
Trends in confirmed persecution incidents are analysed by the PAW NI Raptor Subgroup (see published reports HERE) and provide a valuable resource for PSNI, DAERA and other investigating bodies. Several key locations have been identified as Raptor Crime Hotspots and targeted efforts are being made in these areas to tackle this wildlife crime.
For further information on the law and how to recognise Raptor Persecution, and other wildlife crimes, please see the following resources;
Wildlife Law and You
PAW NI Watch Out For Wildlife Crime
PAW NI Raptor Persecution