What do I do if I find an animal that I believe has been poisoned?

What to do if you find a dead wild animal that you believe has been poisoned

Please contact the police by telephone on 101 if you have found any dead wildlife and poisoning is suspected.

If you find a mammal that you believe has been poisoned:

  • Do not touch the dead animal or the bait as poisons can impregnate the skin
  • Make a note of its location and anything else that is around or near the animal
  • Cover and mark the spot and report suspected incidents to Pesticide Safety Directorate (PSD) telephone 0800 321600 (calls are free).

Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)

The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) investigates the deaths of wildlife, including beneficial insects and some pests, throughout the UK where there is evidence that pesticide poisoning may be involved. The Scheme is used to monitor pesticide use after approval, so that product approvals can be revised if necessary. It also provides a measure of the success of the pesticide registration process, and helps in the verification and improvement of the risk assessments made in this process. WIIS has a long association with the Wildlife Incident Unit at the Central Science Laboratory (CSL). They use their expertise to analyse a variety of animal tissues, including gut contents, vomit, faeces, blood, urine, liver, kidney and lung. Evidence from the Scheme can also be used to enforce legislation on the use of pesticides and the protection of humans, food, the environment and animals.

Natural England (NE) Wildlife Advisers operate the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) and are trained to deal with all such cases. The scheme is run by the Pesticide Safety Directorate (PSD), an executive agency of DEFRA. Wildlife Advisers are authorised to undertake certain functions such as accessing land and taking of samples, and will maintain the continuity of evidence and can arrange for forensic analysis for pesticides. Natural England is keen to work in partnership with the police and to advise or assist as appropriate. Natural England is a Non-Departmental Public Body of DEFRA.

If you have spoken to any of the above organisations and reported the poisoning to them, please advise our Contact Management staff or a Wildlife Crime Officer.

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