I was very privileged today to attend Birders Against Wildlife Crime Conference 2016, in Bristol.
This is the second year for the conference which takes place over a weekend and includes a wide variety of speakers.
The first speaker of the day was Mike Dilger, who is a broadcaster, naturalist and writer. He talked about his experiences as a TV presenter and how the people who make TV programs have to balance ratings and what they think people want to watch with telling the important stories and sometimes difficult subjects that people don’t want to hear about.
The second speaker was Pauline Kidner, who is the founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue centre. She shared her stories and background information on Secret World. Pauline is passionate about animals and gave the audience tips on what to do if you find an injured animal as well as stories of some of the animals that have been rescued.
Ian Guildford who is an Investigative Support Officer, National Wildlife Crime Unit, spoke next. He talked about how the police get involved with crimes against wildlife such as Hare coursing, poaching and Badger baiting, how DNA can be used to catch people and how important it is to report wildlife and rural crime.
After lunch Geoff Edmond, National Wildlife co-ordinator, RSPCA did his talk on the work the RSPCA do, which included snares and showed some photos that were quite sad to see. Something I had never heard about was glue traps, these are sticky boards that animals stick to when they walk across, the poor animal then rips out patches of fur or breaks bones trying to escape.
Craig Jones showed us a beautiful slide show of the wildlife photographs he takes including ones of Orangutans in Sumatra. Followed by Keith Betton’s talk about Peregrines.
The day was ended by a spectacular talk from Dominic Dyer. I have heard Dominic talk quite a few times before but I think this was one of his best ones. Although I don’t understand all of the politics, it was interesting to hear how little politicians seem to care about wildlife.
The main message from today was 3 R’s of Wildlife Crime, Recognise, Record and Report.
I really enjoyed today and it was great to see people I already know such as Georgia, Mya Rose, Ryan, Emily and Dominic but also to get to meet some new people.
Charlie Moores and the BAWC team made me feel very welcome and I would recommend this conference to anybody who is interested in wildlife.