Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) has organised a one-day wildlife crime conference called ‘Eyes in the Field’, based on BAWC’s ‘Recognise, Record, Report‘ initiative. Designed to help all of us tackle wildlife crime, we’re holding the conference in Buxton, Derbyshire and have confirmed some really great speakers (see below).
For more details please go to Eyes in the Field 2015
Dr Mark Avery
Dr Mark Avery is a scientist by training and a naturalist by inclination. He writes about and comments on environmental issues.
Mark worked for the RSPB for 25 years until standing down in April 2011 to go freelance. He was the RSPB’s Conservation Director for nearly 13 years.
Mark lives in rural Northamptonshire and is a member of Cheltenham Racecourse, the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, Buglife, Plantlife, Butterfly Conservation, Pond Conservation, the BTO, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the Labour Party.
Mark’s influential and widely-read blog is online at http://markavery.info/ and on Twitter at @MarkAvery
At the conference: Mark will be discussing Hen Harriers, Hen Harrier Day 2015, and his ongoing campaign to ban driven grouse shooting
Alan Charles, Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire
Derbyshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner is committed to fighting crime and protecting communities. His recently refreshed Police and Crime Plan contains clear objectives focussing effort on key issues such as support to victims and witnesses; partnership working; keeping people, particularly vulnerable people, safe from harm; support for local policing; performance; and alcohol abuse.
He wants to see integrated solutions to tackling crime and managing offenders with partners from across the community safety, healthcare, emergency services and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector providing a holistic service. He is determined to forge working relationships between appropriate service providers to enhance the service delivered to those in need and simultaneously cutting costs and reducing duplication.
The former County Councillor is a firm believer in family values and is married with two daughters and three grandchildren all of whom live in Derbyshire.
At the conference: Alan will be discussing wildlife crime and the PCC’s role in helping tackle it.
Malcolm Hopton, Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group
The Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group is a registered charity working in partnership with the Bat Conservation Trust and in close contact with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. We are a voluntary organisation and are celebrating the group’s 30th birthday this year!
As set out in our constitution, the group aims to advance the protection and conservation of bats, their roosts, feeding areas, hibernacula and surrounding environment in Derbyshire and to educate the public and the group’s members in all matters related to bats.
Members of the group give advice on bat related issues and those who have a Natural England licence can examine roosts and any bats which are present. Membership extends across the county and visits can be arranged as required.
Dominic Dyer, Chief Executive of the Badger Trust
Dominic Dyer has a long track record of success in leadership and senior management roles in government, industry and NGO sectors on a UK and International basis and is highly respected for being able to promote organisations through a combination marketing, public relations and communication activities.
He worked in the UK Ministry of Agriculture between 1987 to 2000 in a number of policy roles focusing on marine environment protection, EU trade policy and organic farming developments.
He joined the Food and Drink Federation in 2000 and played a key role in developing a number of new industry groups in the organic, soya food, vegetarian and functional food sectors.
He was Chief Executive of the Crop Protection Association between 2008 -2012 and played a key role in raising awareness of the importance of plant science to the future of farming and food production on a UK and International basis.
He is currently Chief Executive of the Badger Trust and Senior Policy Advisor for Care for the Wild International a leading wildlife protection and conservation charity (which he also chaired between 2006 to 2012) with operations in UK, Kenya, India and Thailand.
Dominic was appointed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a Lay Member of their Veterinary Nurses Council in April 2013.
He is a Fellow of the British American Project and the Council for the United States and Italy and was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts Business & Manufacturing in 2010 for his work on global food security issues
Dominic undertakes regular broadcasts on TV and radio and contributes to press articles and journals on a wide range wildlife protection, conservation , farming, food production, business and foreign policy issues.
Dominic can be contacted on email@example.com and is on Twitter @domdyer70
Bob Eliott, Head of Investigations for RSPB
Bob Eliott and his team attempts to protect some of the UK’s rarest species. The team undertakes active fieldwork to uncover incidents of wildlife crime.
Despite legal protection, offences against wild birds continue and every year the RSPB receives over 500 reports of wild bird crime, with many more incidents reported to the police and other agencies. The RSPB’s Investigations Section’s main role is to support the statutory authorities by providing advice, expert witness and investigative help on wild bird crime. It works closely with the police Wildlife Crime Officers (WCOs), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Procurators Fiscal and HM Revenue and Customs. The RSPB has not taken a private prosecution since 1992.
The RSPB actively supports the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) by chairing the Publicity Sub-group and sitting on the Forensic Working Group. The RSPB Investigations Section has been involved in a range of issues to improve wildlife law enforcement. Creation of the police WCO network. The Section had a major input into the development and subsequent success of this network.
At the conference: Bob’s talk will cover the practical aspects of what to look for, and how to react if we find evidence of wildlife crime. Bob will use recent case studies to reinforce the message that birders and visitors to the countryside can, and do, regularly make a difference in the detection of offences being committed in the countryside.
Craig Fellowes is a retired police officer, having served 31 years with Warwickshire, with 28 of these years being involved in tackling wildlife crime. He has run and managed the nationally accredited ‘Police Wildlife Crime Officers Foundation Course’ since 1997, and trained over 1000 members of staff from across the UK. The course is accredited by the internationally renowned ‘Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime’, and is the only course of its kind within the UK.
On the back of the success of this course, he has been asked to deliver training overseas, addressed conferences, and presented at seminars in other countries; delivered specialist one off courses to police forces across the UK; worked in partnership with the UK Border Agency on the trade in endangered species; and assisted in reviewing legislation and regulations.
Craig’s website, which contains much more information on the courses he runs, is at Wildlife Training Consultancy
At the conference: In his talk Craig will explain what is taught on a wildlife crime training course and how that enables course graduates to tackle wildlife crime in the field.
Based in Wiltshire, Charlie has been a birder for over forty years. Now freelance (and Chair of BAWC), Charlie formerly worked for a major airline travelling extensively and birding continuously (in one memorable year he recorded over 1950 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) 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.
At the conference: Charlie will be opening the conference and chairing a number of the talks.
Chris was born in Southampton. A precocious young scientist, swat and nerd in training he studied Kestrels, Shrews and Badgers in his teens and undergraduate days at the Zoology department of Southampton University. He also embraced Punk Rock and played in a band and the DIY ethos and determination to never take ‘no’ for an answer are forcefully retained.
Post graduation and a cancelled PhD, (the Badgers were getting a bit much), he began taking still photographs and trained as a wildlife film cameraman. The photography continues with exhibitions and invitations to judge prestigious competitions but the camerawork gave way to presenting. Chris began with the award winning ’Really Wild Show’ in 1986 and has been working ever since. Credits include ‘Wildshots’, ‘Wild Watch’, ‘Go Wild’, basically lots of things with ‘wild’ in the title. ‘X-Creatures’, ‘Postcards from the Wild’, ‘Hands on Nature’, ‘Nature’s Calendar’, ‘Springwatch’, ‘Autumnwatch’, ‘Secrets of our Living Planet’ had more inventive programme names.
A passionate, committed, and thoughtful conservationist, Chris has campaigned on the environment and wildlife for many years and has spoken out about wildlife crime on many occasions. He was a key supporter of Hen Harrier Day and in November 2014 he and his team were Green Ribbon Award winners for their work highlighting the massacre of migrating birds in Malta.
Paul Tillsley, Head of Investigations League Against Cruel Sports
Paul Tillsley is a lifelong wildlife fanatic. He gave up a job in the civil service to study Environmental Science and then trained as a Biology teacher. Paul started working for the League Against Cruel Sports fulltime in January 2000 and heads the Investigations Team.
At the conference: Paul will be talking about the work of the League Against Cruel Sports investigations team in relation to illegal activities associated with hunting and shooting.
Dr Ruth Tingay
Ruth is a wildlife conservationist specialising in raptor ecology. She earned an MSc (2000) and PhD (2005) from the University of Nottingham for research on the critically endangered Madagascar Fish Eagle.
Ruth has conducted field research on five continents and has published over 30 scientific papers, predominantly on eagle ecology and conservation, as well as co-editing the book The Eagle Watchers (Cornell University Press, 2010).
Ruth served as an International Director of the Raptor Research Foundation for six years, two years as Eurasian Committee Chair and four years as President. She is a member of the IUCN Red List Authority (Birds) and the IUCN Species Survival Commission Expert Network. Ruth is currently researching raptor persecution in Europe as well as working as a freelance environmental consultant for a number of private and public agencies in the UK and overseas.
At the conference: ‘Natural Injustice: The failure of wildlife crime enforcement in Scotland’.
This presentation will be based on the findings of a recently-commissioned report undertaken for Scottish Environment LINK: Natural Injustice: a review of the enforcement of wildlife protection legislation in Scotland. (Publication date Dec 2014).
Wildlife crime has received an increasing level of media, public and political attention in recent years. In 2008, the Scottish Government published a report entitled Natural Justice containing the results of a joint thematic inspection of the arrangements for preventing, investigating and prosecuting wildlife crime. The report made a number of recommendations for improvement.
Six years after the report’s publication, however, many environmental non-Governmental organisations with direct experience of the uncovering, monitoring and reporting of wildlife crime suggest that enforcement measures remain inconsistent and, in many cases, weak and ineffective. This evidence-based report evaluates those claims.
The report focuses on four specific areas of wildlife crime: those relating to the persecution of badgers, bats, freshwater pearl mussels and raptors. It presents an estimation of the extent of these wildlife crimes, provides an overview of the current enforcement framework, tracks the progress of wildlife crimes reported to the police between 2008-2013 including the process of initial follow-up investigation, prosecution, conviction and sentencing, and presents the on-going concerns of LINK members directly involved with the wildlife crime enforcement process.
Chris Williamson MP, Derby North
Chris Williamson was elected to Parliament in May 2010, and has worked in a variety of different settings as a machinist on factory shop floors, on building sites as a former bricklayer and in local government as a Community Care Worker, Social Worker and Welfare Rights Officer.
He has been a member of the Labour Party since 1976, was the leader of the Derby Labour Group from 2002 to 2010, and leader of Derby City Council on two separate occasions from 2002 – 2003 and 2005 – 2008.
Chris is a seasoned animal welfare campaigner. As a trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports he was a key force in the national campaign that eventually saw foxhunting outlawed with the passing of the Hunting Act 2004, and is working hard to ensure that the Act is not repealed after the next election. As he says on his blog, “The problem is not with the law. It’s with those arrogant bloodsports fanatics who think they’re above the law and openly flout it. This cannot be allowed to go on in a democracy where the rule of law is sacrosanct.”