"Nature can look after itself - it's been
doing so for millions of years"
But is this true anymore? The impact of man on our wildlife
and habitats is such that many species now need the protection of
the law if they are to survive and flourish.
The fact is that in the last 5,000 years man has developed ways
of altering vast areas of wildlife habitat to grow food. We
use myriad other species for our own purposes.
In the last few hundred years own numbers have increased
dramatically. Our need for housing and transportation,
together with the by-products of our industries, have caused vast
reductions in available habitat and in the number and range of
In the face of this pressure, many species need to protection of
Protecting rare species is not only about preventing them being
killed - disturbing their nests and homes can be just as damaging,
as can uncontrolled trade in them.
It is very easy to learn the main points of the law protecting
species. Simply remember that:
- Intentional or reckless killing, injuring, taking, selling or
advertising for sale or purchase specially protected wild animals,
such as the otter, badger and red squirrel, is against the
- Intentionally or recklessly disturbing them in or damaging
their breeding places or places of shelter is also against the
- all wild birds, their nests and eggs are protected and there
are special penalties for harming certain rarities;
- wild plants must not be picked or sold. Uprooting any
wild plants is illegal without the landowner's permission.
Specially protected plants must not be picked, uprooted or sold
without a licence.
- possession of any protected species is against the law unless
it can be shown that it was taken legally.
Do remember how easy it is to damage plants
and to disturb birds and other animals. You should always
apply for a licence from CCW to disturb specially protected birds
or animals since to do so is against the law. Remember that
photography may amount to disturbance.
CCW also deals with licences to examine, ring
or mark protected species or to kill, take or possess them for
scientific, educational or conservation purposes.
Responsibilities for other licensing, such as
for crop protection or public health, lies with the National
Assembly for Wales.