27 February 2012

Youngsters Get Chance To Be Wildlife Detectives

Primary school pupils are to get the chance to become detectives for a day as part of new wildlife crime education project launched earlier this week by Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.

The initiative, designed for primary school children, is aimed at raising awareness of crimes that threaten wildlife and the environment in the North-east.

This project, unique to Scotland, centres on a new education pack, designed by Grampian Police in association with TAQA Bratani Limited, entitled ‘Wildlife Detectives’. It will feature five different activities including a CSI style Wildlife Crime investigation, DVD and team quiz.

Chief Inspector Janice Innes, head of the Grampian Police Wildlife Crime Unit, said:

“Grampian Police Wildlife Crime Unit dealt with 306 incidents in 2011 ranging from salmon poaching to the illegal killing of birds of prey. Crimes such as these not only affect Grampian’s wildlife but can pose a threat to people accessing the countryside for recreation and can cause damage to land.

“It is important that children understand how our countryside is managed for the benefit of both wildlife and people. The pack will help children differentiate between legal practices and wildlife crime. It is hoped the messages will be long-lasting, so in the future as adults they are able to make informed decisions about how they use our countryside.

“Grampian Police has a dedicated team of wildlife crime officers who enforce wildlife legislation, however crime prevention through education and awareness raising initiatives such as this has proven to be the most effective technique in reducing overall incidences of crime.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I believe the Wildlife Crime Education Pack will be an important resource for schools and pupils throughout the North East because education plays a vital role in tackling the problems we have with wildlife crime. By teaching young people the importance of protecting wildlife and managing the countryside responsibly, we can encourage them to respect and look after our natural heritage.”

The education pack is expected to be rolled out to schools in early March 2012. The new packs are the brainchild of Andy Turner, the UK’s first Wildlife Crime Education Officer.

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