How to report a wildlife crime

In the UK foxes are neither classified as ‘vermin’ nor are they a fully protected species. Sadly it is legal to employ a licensed culler to shoot foxes on private land. However foxes are protected from cruelty by the

Wild Mammals Protection Act (

 from 1996. This Act makes it an offense “for any person to mutilate, kick, beat, nail or otherwise impale, stab, burn, stone, crush, drown, drag or asphyxiate any wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering.” Therefore it is illegal to fill in a live fox den (as the foxes living in it may get asphyxiated), poison foxes, use unlicensed (hand-made and self-locking) snares, shoot foxes with an air gun, hit or stab foxes etc. – any activity which causes suffering as outline in the act. 

Get more info on what constitutes a wildlife crime here: There is a PDF you can download with clear info and illustrations.

If you suspect someone committing a wildlife crime against foxes, you must contact the police with as much information as possible. Most police forces have a dedicated wildlife officer. Their contact details should be shown on the force’s website and you can ask to speak to them or contact them via email. To remain anonymous–call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. The police are meant to be impartial, however we experienced that some wildlife officers may be fox-friendly and keen to help whereas others may turn a blind eye and consider an investigation a waste of time. Do make sure your report is logged and given a reference number. Follow up on the case to find out what is being done about investigating the potential wildlife criminal.

If you know someone is snaring foxes using illegal snares or not checking their legal snares at least once every 24 hours, do contact the National Anti Snaring Campaign: Having run many investigations, they are experts in this field and will be keen to log the information and give advice.

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