School children take part in wildlife crime poster competition following visits from officers
Issued by Police Scotland
School children from the Highlands have taken part in a wildlife crime poster competition following school visits from officers.
Since the start of the year wildlife crime officers PC Daniel Sutherland and PC Scott Maclean have visited schools in Daviot, Farr, Stratherrick, Foyers, Strathdearn, Carrbridge and Cawdor, to educate children about the different types of wildlife crime that can happen in their areas.
In 2016 Police reported that a Buzzard's nest located within National Forest Estate land in the Tomatin area had been illegally disturbed. Following this enquiry and in conjunction with Partners of HPAW including the Forest Enterprise Scotland it was decided that wildlife crime officers would visit local schools.
PC Sutherland said: "This was a fantastic opportunity to go into the schools and speak to the children about wildlife crime. There is still ongoing evidence of continued Raptor persecution in the northern Monadhliath area and this was a good opportunity to raise awareness of this to the school children.
"The children also learned about deer and fish poaching, hare coursing, traps, vandalism and tampering with legal pest control methods. They were shown videos about the subjects and then discussed what they watched with the Police.
"The children were fantastic and very keen to learn about all aspects of wildlife crime and the impact it has on the local community whether you are a sporting estate suffering from poaching and trap tampering to tourism which relies on the sporting industry and the fantastic wildlife Scotland has to offer."
As part of the school visits £100 of Amazon gift vouchers were on offer by the Forestry commission as prize money for the poster competition on the subject of wildlife crime. More than 120 children were spoken to and all designed their own posters. A fantastic selection of designs from each school were judged by members of HPAW and the winners decided as:
- 1st £50 Amazon voucher - Katie Elder - Daviot Primary School
- 2nd £30 Amazon Voucher - Kirsten Kortland - Daviot primary School
- 3rd £20 Amazon Voucher - Alec Forbes - Farr Primary School
The children took the opportunity to visit Police divisional HQ at Inverness where they were presented with their prizes by Giles Brockman Environment Manager for Enterprise Scotland and Superintendent Colin Gough.
Giles Brockman, Environment Manager for Forest Enterprise Scotland, said: “I am really pleased that we were able to support these school visits. Children love wildlife and their enthusiasm is evident in the poster art work. The National Forest Estate works to ensure that Scotland’s wildlife is there for the next generation, whilst demonstrating that commercial activity can still take place.”
Ian Wilson, from NFU and chairman of the HPAW group, said: "The Highland PAW group welcomed the opportunity for wildlife crime officers from Police Scotland to go into local schools and speak to pupils about wildlife crime. This gave the children the chance to gain an insight into some of the illegal activities that they may witness such as hare coursing and poaching. It also allowed the opportunity to explain the need for legal pest control including the use of traps and cages and how interference with these is a wildlife crime in itself."