Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) is an independent, volunteer-led, campaign group set up in 2014 by a group of experienced birders and conservationists who just like you are sick of the number of crimes being committed against wildlife. Our aim is to fight back, by 1) making the processes of Recognising, Recording, and Reporting wildlife crime as easy as possible (an initiative we term ‘the Three Rs’), 2) putting ‘eyes in the field’ (see eg here), and 3) highlighting how much wildlife crime takes place and what ‘the public’ really think about it (see eg here),
By doing so we want to demonstrate that:
- any of us can tackle wildlife crime – we often already have the tools (like good optics and camera phones), we just need more information and more support;
- that wildlife crime is taking place all around us – it’s not confined to ‘hotspots’ or certain areas, it’s happening in our neighbourhood too;
- and that the laws that protect our wildlife are constantly under threat and need protecting as much as our wildlife does.
It’s also a fact that in some ‘countryside sectors’ wildlife crime is barely thought of as a crime at all, just something that is part of doing business. To address that we need to promote a cultural change through public pressure, similar to how drink-driving has gone from being considered almost the norm amongst some men thirty years ago but is no now longer considered ‘acceptable’ in any way whatsoever.
Birders Against Wildlife Crime is run by an organising committee and admin team (details below) who are responsible for policy and strategy. As well as campaigning to raise awareness of wildlife crime through our ‘Three Rs’ initiative, our aim is to campaign to protect and strengthen existing legislation that protects wildlife from crime and for proper sentencing of those convicted.
We intend to build our website into a comprehensive and accessible hub about wildlife crime and the laws protecting wildlife, presented in plain English that we can all understand. Wherever possible we have our information checked by police wildlife crime officers and/or charity investigation officers to try to ensure accuracy, but we may not get it right every time. Sorry for the standard disclaimer, but information on the website is for advice only and we urge everyone to note the cautions we have included regarding tackling wildlife criminals (in a word ‘don’t‘).
BAWC is very much a ‘citizen science’ project. While we are not a membership-based group we certainly welcome help and support. If you would like to help us, would like us to correct something, or have additional information that you think we should include on the website please let us know.
If you’d like to know more about our policies and politics please have a look at our FAQs page.
BAWC organising committee and admin team:
Based in Wiltshire, Charlie has been a birder for over forty years. Now freelance (and Chairing BAWC), Charlie formerly worked for a major airline travelling extensively and birding continuously (in one memorable year he recorded over 1900 species, raising money for parrot conservation at the same time). Charlie has been writing about conservation and animal welfare issues since the 1990s.
As well as developing BAWC, Charlie co-founded the NGO Birds Korea (which works to protect biodiversity in East Asia, in particular endangered shorebirds – including the Spoon-billed Sandpiper – and waterfowl – including Scaly-sided Merganser and Baikal Teal) and the Talking Naturally website. He has made well over 100 podcasts interviewing conservationists and researchers around the world and is continuing this work with BAWC: our podcasts can be found on our Soundcloud stream.
In 2013 Charlie became a trustee of the leading UK animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports. In May 2015 he relaunched the Talking Naturally podcasts in association with Rare Bird Alert and Wild Sounds and Books.
Based in ‘God’s Own County’ (Yorkshire) Lawrie has been fascinated and passionate about the natural world for as long as he can remember, collecting fossils where he grew up in the Black Country and watching gulls on the small lake at his local park. Whilst serving in the Royal Navy he was able to see Polar Bears and whales in the Arctic, and Penguins in the Antarctic. After leaving the Royal Navy Lawrie completed a degree in Environmental Sciences and has volunteered with local conservation projects, the BTCV and the RSPB (returning to sea by guiding on seabird cruises out of Bridlington).
Now living and working from home, Lawrie spends his spare time birding on a former open cast mine site and other local patches. Since 1992 he has also been volunteering with the League Against Cruel Sports both in the field, monitoring and filming fox, stag and hare hunting and also as member of the League’s board of trustees where he currently serves as Vice Chair.
In recent years Lawrie has also been a regular volunteer on the Birdlife Malta Bird camps, monitoring illegal hunting.
BAWC’s Treasurer and Merchandise Lead, Phil was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, and spent his formative years by the sea: despite this could never get to grips with ageing gulls! No real surprise as his field guide at the time was the Observer Book of Birds. When asked to describe himself, he says that he is an outdoors person temporarily working indoors. That temporary job has lasted 38 years so far. He works for a high street bank, where he solves problems for both clients and colleagues. He specialises in Customer Service – particularly Complaints – Human Resources, Operational Risk, Planning and keeping very calm whilst everyone else around him isn’t.
He now lives in West Yorkshire and, whilst still abysmal at ageing gulls, enjoys birding on his local patch. In recent months he has managed to get his mania for keeping Day Lists of birds somewhat under control, but now also includes the butterflies and moths, damsel and dragonflies and mammals that he sees.
Phil feels he is typical of the kind of person BAWC wants to engage with – someone who is enthusiastic about all wildlife, spends as much time as they can in the countryside and wants to do something practical and positive to reduce wildlife crime.
Anthony is based in north Wales, on the edge (quite literally) of the Snowdonia National Park. He is an independent creative director with over 25 years experience in his industry and working under the name Zed Creative, producing motion graphics, graphic design, video and photography. He has always had a keen interest in the natural world, particularly birds, invertebrates and landscapes. When he started working for himself, some 15 years ago, he made it a personal mission to use his skills to help with conservation.
Anthony caught the “Africa bug” in 2004 on his first visit, and the following year made a 5 month trip through Southern Africa. A chance conversation and a string of circumstances lead to him eventually becoming involved in a campaign to help promote the issues of rhino poaching in Africa. He designed and produced a short animation to explain the background issues to the problem, which lead to him becoming involved in a number of other African projects.
After another chance meeting of minds in 2013, Anthony worked alongside Charlie Moores on a personal project. After this, he was asked if he would like to be involved in BAWC, an opportunity he jumped at because it offered the chance to do something positive to try to show the general public that it is possible for one person to make a difference, and all of those individual actions add up to something tangible.
Based in East Anglia, Simon works for Conservation Grade as their Conservation Manager having previously worked for the RSPB for many years. His work has included surveying the birds of Exmoor, helping protect Hen Harriers and Bee-eaters breeding in the North of England and analysing farmland bird survey data. More recently he managed the RSPB’s land management advice and agricultural work throughout Eastern England working on policies that affect farmland birds and farm biodiversity. Simon has been a lecturer in ornithology for BSc students for several years, specialising in bird ethology and bird populations. He has a very strong bird guiding background from his experience in leading bird tours.
Simon co-launched Operation Turtle Dove, coordinating efforts in the UK and internationally to save the species from extinction in this country and set up the Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone a landscape scale approach to farmland bird conservation.
Raised in Plymouth, Simon has been an avid birder and naturalist since childhood. At just nine years old he remembers sneaking out with his father’s massive Russian binoculars at first light only to return home many hours later, covered in estuarine mud and to face the music from his parents!
Based in Cumbria, Tristan has been a birder and naturalist for over thirty years and currently works as a freelance ecologist. Earlier in his career Tristan worked as a nature reserve ranger/naturalist which included species protection of Schedule One species.
Tristan is a passionate conservationist and has embarked on some innovative projects to raise funds and awareness for several projects (detailed on his website). He currently sits on the council of Ornithological Society of the Middle East where he helps promote birding and conservation in the middle-east region. Tristan is also a Patron for the birding charity Birding for All which works for better access for all people to resources, services and reserves for birding.
Steve Mills and Hilary Koll
Steve and Hilary are based in North Yorkshire and are freelance authors and educational consultants. Having worked in teaching and lecturing in the south of England for many years, they escaped north to the Yorkshire coast for a less-urban life.
Both spend part of each year in Greece and, in 2008, set up BirdWING – Bird Watching In Northern Greece – a conservation organisation designed to protect birds and their habitats in the country and to raise awareness of issues affecting them. Together with writing site guides and newsletters to increase eco-tourism in the region, they develop on-the-ground projects include building nesting platforms for terns and Dalmatian Pelicans, producing nest-boxes for struggling Rollers and Lesser Kestrels and developing initiatives with staff from the National Parks and other regional NGOs.
Steve has been a keen birder since childhood and now spends as much spare time as he can as a wildlife photographer (stevemills-birdphotography.com) and blogging about nature and wildlife crime (stevemillsblog.wordpress.com). Hilary’s interest in birds and wildlife has developed over the last twenty years and now they are both passionate about wanting people to look beyond the human-centred view of life and to consider how our actions affect species other than ourselves.
Based on the Isle of Mull, Rachel has been working within White-tailed Eagle tourism for the last three years after completing a wildlife conservation degree at the University of Cumbria, with the final thesis considering the suitability of English locations for White-tailed Eagle recolonisation.
Currently Rachel works as a ranger for Mull Eagle Watch, a partnership organisation generating money for the local community through raptor eco tourism, something that could be translated across the board to other raptor species. She also leads guided walks and events whilst being responsible for eagle based education across all the island primary schools, which she thoroughly enjoys.
After growing up in Northumberland and running wild on weekends as a child she has a general passion for all nature but most specifically birds of prey. Her family have ran a long term falconry centre and so some of the love for raptors stemmed from there. Her main interests are raptor conservation, re-wilding and education of our younger generations. Rachel is soon to embark on teacher training with the long term goal of getting our younger generations outdoors into the wild, so that they grow up with a love of our wild places and animals. With the Isle of Mull as a base Rachel meets a multitude of interested parties and is currently involved in the set up and development of Wild Mull, an umbrella organisation to pull together current island conservation and to open new avenues to protect the islands biodiversity.