The trials of being a wildlife crime investigator

Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist

Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist

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I’m sorry, I’ll read that again! Nope, it still conjures up silly pictures.

Did you see the recent story about Steve James, the Australian wildlife crime investigator who has been awarded sponsorship to conduct a fact-finding mission in the area?

Wow! Imagine having “wildlife crime investigator” in the “occupation” section of your passport. And did you know there is even a National Wildlife Crime Unit?

A crime unit set up specifically to investigate crime carried out by wildlife?

Who would have thought that there was a criminal element in the animal kingdom? I mean, what DO they get up to?

Pigeon pickpockets? Mugged by a mallard? Badger burglars?

There must be a lot of it going on because, according to the article, the investigators employ technology such as intelligence tools and forensic science.

A murder scene, they check the DNA; yup, this person was definitely bumped off by a rabbit.

And it makes me wonder – do frogs and foxes have pawprints, like fingerprints?

Is that an innocent flock of starlings or is it a gang intent on stealing a car? I’ll never look at a seagull the same again.

I find the whole thing quite scary.

A walk in the countryside can be a stroll into a crime hot-spot. I mean, I was once chased by a swan.

I thought it was just mad at me, but perhaps it was after my wallet?

And how do they decide the guilt or otherwise once they have caught the furry perpetrator of these crimes?

And how do they decide what sentence they should serve… sheepdog trials, possibly?

Okay, in all seriousness, I’m a wildlife lover. Always have been.

But isn’t it sad that we have to bring in crack crime investigators to halt people from harming animals?

We actually have to give police protection to our wildlife?

The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit is based in Livingston.

It’s a multi-agency police-led unit that deals with aspects of wildlife crime such as reptile smuggling, wild bird netting, snaring, trade in endangered species, egg collecting, hunting with dogs and badger baiting.

All power to them, I say. It’s just a sickening reflection on the greed and cruelty of some human beings that such a unit is required in the first place.