NWCU launch ‘Undisturbed’ – a social media initiative to raise awareness for wildlife photographers and drone users of their responsibilities to wildlife

16/05/2019 0 By wildfeed

NWCU launch ‘Undisturbed’ – a social media initiative to raise awareness for wildlife photographers and drone users of their responsibilities to wildlife

The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) are please to launch “Undisturbed” – a social media initiative to raise awareness among wildlife photographers and drone users of their responsibilities while sourcing images of wild animals.

The affordability of modern digital camera technology has produced an ever-growing interest in capturing photographs of wildlife. A number of leading UK wildlife photographers and charitable organisations have now expressed concern at the amount of wildlife disturbance being caused by prospective photographers seeking natural history subjects. Unlicensed disturbance of mammals and birds may result in a conviction under wildlife or marine legislation attracting sentences up to £5,000 fine or 6 month’s imprisonment.

Between the 17th May 2019 and the 1st November 2019 the NWCU will seek to highlight issues regarding wildlife disturbance by providing weekly tweets (@ukwildlifecrimeon a Friday.  These will relate to watching or photographing different seasonal species and the consequences associated with causing unlicensed disturbance.

Leading photographer Laurie Campbell has over 40 years’ experience in photographing wildlife and has seen a gradual increase in the number of wildlife disturbance incidents by members of the public with cameras.  Laurie offers the following advice:

“As far as possible, one should always research the species of bird or mammal in advance and to determine its protected status within law before attempting to photograph it. Recognising the signs of stress and being aware of any changes in the natural behaviour of any animal is vital, both to judge how close you may approach safely, and when to back away. Regardless of whatever the protected status of the species may be, its welfare must always come before the desire to photograph it.”

Chief Inspector Lou Hubble, Head of the NWCU, said, “Wildlife is amazing!  It is a real privilege to see animals and birds in their natural habitat.  We have such a diverse range of species throughout the UK and it is only natural to want to get close to them.  However, this initiative serves to remind people that disturbance could be a criminal offence.  Please be responsible when photographing or filming wildlife and birds and allow others to enjoy the experience as you have.”

The project comes with the support of PAW (Partnerships for Action Against Wildlife Crime) across the UK.

Further information on how to photograph wildlife safely can be found at:

British Birds – bird photography code of practice

Royal Photographic Society – the Nature Photographers’ Code of Practice

Anyone seeing an incident of illegal wildlife disturbance should contact the Police on 101.

Notes:

For further information, please contact Charlie Everitt, NWCU – charles.everitt@nwcu.pnn.police.uk

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