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Irish Wildlife Crime Conference 2015

Comhdháil Coireacht Fiadhúlra na hÉireann - 21 CVE credits

 

flyer 2015


 

PROGRAMME

Programme – Saturday 12th September 2015

Venue The Pillo Hotel, Ashbourne, Co Meath
Delegates Open Attendance

 

08.30

Registration & Coffee

09.00

Welcome address

09.10

Wildlife crime in Europe

Mairead McGuinness (MEP)

09.30

What is wildlife crime?

Maurice Eakin (NPWS)

09.50

The Industrial Information revolution – what does it all mean? 

Mick Moran (INTERPOL)

10.20

Badger persecution and protection

Ian Hutchison (Scottish badgers)

10.50

Coffee

11.10

Misuse of rodenticides

Mark Lynch (CRRU)

11.30

The role of farming in wildlife conservation

Lorcan O'Toole (Golden Eagle Trust)

11.50

Ireland's wild birds and the law

Oonagh Duggan (Birdwatch Ireland)

12.10

The RAPTOR scheme

Barry O'Donoghue (NPWS)

12.30

Undesignated Irish wetlands - a disappearing resource

Faith Wilson (Ecological Consultant)

12.50

Lunch & Exhibitions

13.30

PRACTICAL
Wildlife: Tracks and Trails

John Carslake (Boleybrack Red Grouse Habitat Management Project)

14.00

PRACTICAL
Traps & snares unravelled

Roy Thompson (NPWS), Bob Elliot (RSPB)

14.40

PRACTICAL
Preserving evidence at a crime scene

Mícheál Casey (Dept of Agriculture, Food & the Marine)

15.20 -17.00

PRACTICAL
The real Crime Scene Investigation

NPWS: Noel Bugler, Colm Malone, Tríona Finnen / Mícheál Casey / Martin Walker (Gardai) / Emma Meredith (PSNI Wildlife Liason Officer) / WRI / Bob Elliot

Evening Talk

Venue The Pillo Hotel, Ashbourne, Co Meath
Time 5pm - 6.30pm (45 mins talk, 45 mins Q&A)
Talk 'Connected kids, disconnected parents - the creation of a digital environment around your child'
Speaker Mick Moran (Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Unit - INTERPOL)
Details Mick is presenting a cybercrime talk at the conference and has also kindly offered to share some of his extensive wisdom about online safety of young children based on his work in INTERPOL. Click HERE for more information

Evening Entertainment

Venue Swan’s Bar, Curragha, Co Meath
Time 8pm Free Courtesy Bus from Pillo Hotel
Details Swan’s Bar is situated in the historic and picturesque little village of Curragha in the Royal County and is one of Meath’s oldest music venues. It is a place where people and music from different generations and cultures meet to create one of the most unique Irish Pub experiences Ireland has to offer.

 


 

Programme – Sunday 13th  September 2015

Venue The Pillo Hotel, Ashbourne, Co Meath
Delegates Open Attendance

 

08.30

Registration & Coffee

09.00

Welcome address

09.10

NPWS's role in prevention and prosecution of wildlife crime

Niall O Donnchú (NPWS)

09.30

How An Garda Síochána can support the NPWS in prevention of wildlife crime

Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy (Gardai)

09.50

The forensic approach to solving crimes

Stephen Clifford (Forensic Science Laboratory)

10.20

How joint operations by NPWS and Gardaí lead to greater success in combating wildlife crime

Superintendent Martin Walker (Gardai)

10.40

WDAI's positive developments in the fight against deer poaching

Damien Hannigan (Wild Deer Association of Ireland)

10.50

Coffee

11.10

The Wildlife Acts from a Gun Club's perspective

David Scallon (NARGC)

11.30

Dangers facing Irish moths and butterflies

Jesmond Harding (Butterfly Conservation Ireland)

11.50

RSPB investigation & fieldwork examples

Bob Elliot (RSPB)

12.10

Combatting wildlife crime by the ISPCA

Andrew Kelly (ISPCA)

12.30

Illegal trade in animals

Ciara Flynn (NPWS)

12.50

Lunch & Exhibitions

13.30

PRACTICAL
Understanding and identifying poisons

John Harrison (Dept of Agriculture, Food & the Marine)

14.10

PRACTICAL - discussion
Poisons and the law

Barry O'Donoghue, Bob Elliot, John Harrison

14.50

PRACTICAL - discussion
Forensic post mortem (video footage)

Harriet Brooks, Alex Barlow (Veterinary pathologists)

15.50

PRACTICAL
Treatment of wildlife crime casualties

Kieran Corry (Veterinary surgeon)

16.30 -17.00

WRI update; progress and plans

Clyde Hutchinson (Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland)

 

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GUEST SPEAKERS

WRI was delighted to welcome the following guest speakers to our Conference

 

  • Alex Barlow

Alex is a veterinary pathologist, specialising in investigation of disease in wild British mammals. He qualified from Liverpool in 1978 and completed an MSc in fish pathology at the Institute of Aquaculture, Stirling University, in 1981. He now works part-time for an agency of Defra at APHA Starcross VI Centre, Devon, England and is an honorary staff member of the University of Bristol, School of Veterinary Science at Langford. He gives lectures for their MSc in Wildlife Management.

He ran the necropsy part of an investigation into TB in wildlife species apart from badger in the West of England and 4,700 wild British mammals were examined and samples cultured between 1998 and 2002. He was one of the founding members in 1999 of the MAFF/Defra backed Wildlife Species Expert Group (APHA Wildlife SEG), which is the lead for the GB Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership (GB WDSP). This includes the Scottish Agricultural Colleges Consulting (SAC Consulting), Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), Natural England (NE). Garden Wildlife Health Initiative (GWH), Forestry Commission England (FCE), Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

He is co-editor of the Quarterly Disease Surveillance Report produced by this partnership. Wildlife work not within funding of Defra is carried out by Alex under the Wildlife Network for Disease Surveillance (WNDS) title. Further information regarding his work and published papers and letters can be found at;
https://twitter.com/WildlifeNDS
https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=183059924&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

 

  • Harriet Brooks

Dr Harriet Brooks Brownlie: Born and brought up in rural South Devon, England, Harriet followed her father’s footsteps to train as a veterinary surgeon at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), London, qualifying in 1985. She worked initially ingeneral mixed veterinary practice then in 1990 she returned to the RVC, gaining a PhD, before starting to train as a veterinary pathologist at Liverpool University. She returned to the RVC to continue her pathology training, subsequently becoming lecturer in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at the RVC for 12 years.

After 18 months as resident veterinary pathologist at aninternationalanimal charity she returned to academia and is currently Senior Teaching Fellow in Veterinary Pathology at the University of Bristol. During her lectureship at the RVC her interest in the burgeoning field of Forensic Veterinary Pathology was sparked and she has undergone further training in forensic science, and holds a Diploma in Forensic Medical Sciences.

Forensic Veterinary Pathologyis a relatively new area of specialisation and there is much for us all to learn; by trying always to work to the highest standards possible we honour the individual animal but also potentially contribute to the safeguarding of future animals.

 

  • Noel Bugler

Noel is a Conservation Ranger in the Kildare, Laois & Offaly region with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

 

  • John Carslake

John Carslake is Ireland’s only red grouse gamekeeper and wildlife manager. He has worked in Scotland and Northern England and moved to Leitrim to work on the Boleybrack Project three years ago. Ironically John’s great grandmother came from just outside Manorhamilton. John has a passion for his work and believes that the skill set associated with upland management is close to being lost in Ireland and consequently is determined to develop best practice in an Irish context and disseminate this widely.

Work away from the mountain involves consultation and advisory work, working with Government and NGO’s, together with the administrative and public relations side of the Project. As a specialist in upland management John believes that family holidays to the Scottish Highlands, Connemara and Donegal all played a part in entrenching a love for these wild spaces – even if he was the one of the six children that needed a little more cajoling to ‘get to the next ridge and we can have a sandwich there’

 

  • Mícheál Casey

Mícheál Casey grew up in Westport Co. Mayo.
He is currently based in the Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine Laboratory in Backweston, Celbridge, Co Kildare where he is the head of the Regional Veterinary Laboratory Division.
He graduated in Veterinary Medicine from UCD's Veterinary College in 1989. He graduated from the University of London with a Masters Degree in Livestock Health and Production in 2001. After three years lecturing in Veterinary Parasitology, he spent five years in veterinary practice in Co. Mayo, during which time he set up his own mixed practice in Westport.

He joined the staff of the Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Sligo as a Research Officer in 1997 and was promoted to Senior Research Officer in charge of Sligo RVL in 2004. In June 2010, he took responsibility for the Regional Veterinary Laboratories and the Brucella Testing Laboratory in Cork as the first head of the newly formed Regional Veterinary Laboratory Division.

 

  • Stephen Clifford

Dr Stephen Clifford works as a forensic scientist at Forensic Science Ireland, predominantly in the areas of DNA profiling and blood pattern analysis.

He has a degree from the Department of Genetics at Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the Queen’s University of Belfast where he studied the genetic impact of the escape of farmed salmon (Salmo salar) on wild salmon populations in North West Ireland.

After this he moved to Gabon in central Africa to take up a job at the at the Centre International de Recherches Médicales in Franceville. Here he studied the molecular ecology and conservation of western lowland gorillas. This work led to other wildlife genetic studies, including research on forest elephants and mandrills.

He then moved to Nova Scotia, Canada to work on DNA barcoding of North Atlantic marine fish species before returning to Ireland to work as a forensic scientist. Ireland

 

  • Kieran Corry

Kieran’s wildlife interest started at the age of 4 when he asked for a bird guide and a pair of binoculars for Christmas. As a profession he initially intended to become a marine mammal vet and did an externship with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in the USA which included a capture and health assessment of wild bottlenose dolphins. After realising that marine mammal veterinary meant either research or working at sea world, Kieran quickly changed his mind about this career idea.

After graduating with first class honours from University College Dublin in 2005 he worked in a busy large and small animal practice in County Tyrone. During breaks from working in practice, Kieran did voluntary work with Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education, and Safety in Peru, and Pilpintuwasi Wildlife Rescue - a wildlife rescue and temporary custody center located on 20 hectares of land 20 minutes outside Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon. Pilpintuwasi is dedicated to protecting animals affected by the poaching and trafficking industry which thrives in Iquitos.

To pursue this interest in the small animal field, particularly orthopeadic and soft tissue surgery, he moved to Birmingham to work in a progressive small animal practice where he expanded his skills. After moving back to Ireland in 2010, Kieran wanted to work in a practice that offered the highest standard of equipment and an ethos for veterinary care that matched his own. To this end, he now commutes from Tyrone to work in Clontarf Veterinary Hospital in Dublin.

On return to practice he took on any wildlife cases that came his way and rehabilitated them himself but was limited due to lack of proper facilities until he met Dan Donoher from Kildare Animal Foundation (KAF). Kieran is now able to concentrate on the veterinary treatment of Irish wildlife and leave KAF and Hedgehog Rescue Dublin to do the rehabilitation.
His main wildlife workload involves surgical and medical treatment of traumatic injuries caused by humans. He doesn’t profess to be an expert in wildlife medicine but sees a higher case load than most vets by default due to his interest in this area.  

 

  • Oonagh Duggan

Policy Officer at Birdwatch Ireland

 

  • Maurice Eakin

Dr. Maurice Eakin was born and reared in the Glens of the Antrim.

He is currently based in Navan as a District Conservation Officer with the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) within the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

He graduated in Geology from Queens University Belfast and then transferred to the University of Ulster at Coleraine to complete a PhD. in ‘The Ecology, Conservation and Management of Species-Rich Hay Meadows in County Fermanagh.

He joined the staff of the National Parks and Wildlife Services in 1999 and spent five years working in the Burren, County Clare and then in County Cavan as a Conservation Ranger. In 2004 he became a District Conservation Officer covering Meath, Louth and Dublin.

He has retained his primary academic interest in habitats and plants (specialising in bryophyte recording) but the core part of his work with NPWS has been the implementation and enforcement of the Wildlife Acts and the Birds and Natural Habitats Regulation (which has included a wide variety of law enforcement duties)

 

  • Bob Elliot

Bob is Head of Investigations for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). His role involves his team assisting police and others in investigating crimes committed against some of the rarest species in the UK and in Europe (via BirdLife partners).

Bob is originally from North Yorkshire and started his conservation career as the National Trust’s Head Warden on the Farne Islands monitoring the large seabird colonies and welcoming visitors. A move to Scotland in 1993 led to a career in Countryside Rangering with the National Trust for Scotland, and as Countryside Manager he moved to Inverness to manage the NTS Highlands and Islands properties. These include some of the most iconic landscapes and wildlife in the Trust’s portfolio, including the islands of Fair Isle, Iona, Canna, Staffa and St Kilda, as well as the mainland properties of Glencoe, Inverewe and Culloden.

As a skilled field naturalist, helping people to understand and enjoy the countryside is one of Bob’s passions, and in recent years, he has led expeditions to Peru, Iceland, the Arctic, Antarctica and many Scottish islands.

 

  • Tríona Finnen

Tríona Finnen is a Conservation Ranger for North Westmeath with the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.

She has been a Ranger with NPWS for over 12 years, and has taken an active role in enforcing the Wildlife Acts and the EU Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations.
Successfully prosecuted cases include illegal hare hunting, illegal crayfish trapping, illegal hunting of wild birds with firearms, and hedge cutting and destruction of vegetation growing on uncultivated land during the breeding season.
She has also prepared many cases for prosecution in regard to damage to designated sites- NHAs, SACs and SPAs and provided evidence for other authorities and agencies to take environmental crime cases under their own legislation e.g. Forest Service, Westmeath County Council.

 

  • Ciara Flynn

Ciara Flynn, District Conservation Officer for Kildare, Laois & Offaly with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

 

  • Damien Hannigan

Damien Hannigan is a qualified deer manager and Director and Secretary of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland. Since his appointment in 1999, Damien has been the driving force behind the Association’s rapid expansion into Ireland’s largest deer organisation, with a large national membership and the largest support base of deer organisation in the British Isles. He is an avid deer enthusiast and the lead campaigner for deer welfare in Ireland. His extensive experience and knowledge in deer matters, which he has gained over his 20 years of managing deer, has culminated in invitations to address a wide range of audiences including academics, government and media on subjects such as wildlife crime, deer management, deer distribution etc.

Damien is a founding member of the Deer Alliance, the organising body for assessment and certification for those involved in deer management. He is also a representative of FACE Ireland, recognised by the European Commission as the main discussion partner, representing Europe's 7 million hunters. Damien was recently appointed to the Irish Deer Management Forum by Ministers Humphrey’s and Hayes, the forum will now form the basis for future development of a long term national deer management plan in Ireland. He has just completed further deer management studies in the UK. Damien also has extensive experience in people and organisation management.

 

  • Jesmond Harding

Jesmond Harding is author of the award winning book “Discovering Irish Butterflies & their Habitats” published in 2008. Jesmond has had a number of articles published in various periodicals such as “Peatland News” and the online nature magazine Wildlife Extra. He featured in the third series of “Living the Wildlife” [episode 2]. He was part of the expert group that drew up the red list for Irish butterflies in 2010 [Ireland Red List No. 4].

Jesmond is an active member of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Burrenbeo Trust, and Butterfly Conservation Ireland of which he is a director. Jesmond regularly gives talks on lepidoptera and advises on habitat creation and management, especially for species under threat of extinction.

His current projects include involvement in three lepidoptera recording programmes, liaising with the Burren Life initiative to manage special habitats on limestone, site management of Butterfly Conservation Ireland’s reserve at Lullybeg, County Kildare and assisting in the running of Butterfly Conservation Ireland, including management of the website www.butterflyconservation.ie

 

  • John Harrison

Dr John Harrison - Pesticide Regulation and Enforcement (Biocides, REACH and CLP), Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

 

  • Fergus Healy

Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy - An Garda Síochána

 

  • Ian Hutchison

Ian is a retired police officer from Tayside Police and during the latter years of service worked part time as a wildlife liaison officer for Eastern Division covering the glens of Angus.
On retiring he turned his attention to badgers and their protection and for some years he has represented Scottish Badgers as their species protection officer which has brought him into contact with the problems badgers face through criminal persecution as well as the impacts of development, forest and agricultural operations.

He is also the crime prevention lead for Operation Meles an intelligence led operation targeting badger persecution as part of the UK Wildlife Crime Priorities. This position, funded by Scottish Badger and The Badger Trust, has meant travelling throughout the UK promoting awareness of badger crime.

 

  • Andrew Kelly

Dr Andrew Kelly was appointed to the post of Chief Executive Officer of The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) in February 2014.  Dr Kelly has a wealth of experience working in animal welfare combined with a strong academic background in the field of biological sciences. 

He previously worked with the Humane Society International (HSI) as a senior policy advisor.  Prior to his work with HSI, Dr Kelly was with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in England for eight years, firstly as manager of the RSPCA’s biggest and busiest wildlife rehabilitation centre in Cheshire for six years and more recently as Head of Wildlife Department for two years, where he had responsibility for the Society’s four wildlife rehabilitation centres.

In addition to his long history working in animal welfare Dr Kelly has a strong scientific background. He was awarded his PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Leeds followed by post-doctoral research projects at Lancaster University, University of Glasgow and the Queens University Belfast.

 

  • Mark Lynch

Mark is Chairman of the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use Ireland Limited (CRRU Ireland) a not-for-profit company established to protect wildlife while promoting effective rodent control through the responsible use of rodenticides. He is also Chairman of the Irish Agricultural Supply Industry Standards Limited (IASIS Ltd), a not-for- profit company dedicated to the improvement of standards in the distribution, storage and use of pesticides and animal health products.

Mark has spent over 33 years with the Department of Agriculture and Food, Pesticide Control Service, where he advised the Minister for Agriculture on strategic and operational policy in relation to pesticides.

During this time Mark was heavily involved in the development and management of the Regulatory system for plant protection and biocidal products in Ireland, while also managing inter-institutional research on pesticides, consumer safety and the environment to promote sustainable crop production.

Mark has wide ranging international experience having acted as both Rapporteur and Chairman within major international organisations including the Council of Europe, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and within European Union Council Working Party and Commission Working Groups.

Mark holds a BAgrSc from University College Dublin and both a Masters and a PhD from Cornell University, New York. Mark previously lectured on plant physiology (growth & development) in University College Dublin.

 

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  • Colm Malone

Colm is a Conservation Ranger in the Kildare, Laois & Offaly region with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

 

  • Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP for Midlands, North-West, is Vice-President of the European Parliament and serves on the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

 

  • Emma Meredith

Emma Meredith has been the wildlife liaison officer for the Police Service of Northern Ireland since 2007. The role is a specialised position to offer advice, support and assistance to local police who investigate an alleged breach in the wildlife and/or animal cruelty legislation.

As a result of Emma’s past experience and roles she is familiar with applied and strategic wildlife conservation and legislation as well as wildlife research techniques, care of captive wildlife and aviculture. Emma is an active member of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW). The PAW group aim to combat wildlife crime. PAW has members from government and non-government agencies and it continues to grow. The group is chaired by the Minister of the Environment Mark Durkan.

Emma most recently completed the Winston Churchill Scholarship and as a result published a report on animal crime and welfare. This prestigious award resulted in travelling extensively within Canada and Australia including working with organisations and officials from a suite of government and non government agencies.

Emma has successfully co-ordinated and/or assisted with international and local operations at the Northern Ireland scale, including but not limited to; Operation RAMP (illegal international trade in tortoises) and local actions including Operation WILD DEER (to raise awareness and stop illegal deer poaching at identified crime “black-spots”) and Natural Copeland (targeting eggs thieves on the Copeland Islands) and targeting specific areas on Badger Baiting. Many wildlife and animal welfare operations within the service require liaising internally with PSNI officers and staff and also external agencies and therefore championing the wildlife and animal welfare within, and on behalf of, the PSNI.

 

  • Mick Moran

Mick Moran is a member of An Garda Síochána on secondment to INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon France. He has been a member since 1990 and has worked in a number of roles including front line policing including district court presenter, serious crime investigation and as a computer forensic examiner.

Since coming to INTERPOL he has been attached to the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation unit. He currently heads up that team as the Assistant Director and manages the team that deals with Human Trafficking globally as well as the international aspects of child exploitation such as online, travelling sex offenders and missing children.

He has a BA (hons) in IT management and an MSc in Forensic computing and cybercrime investigation. He is a lecturer on these subjects at UCD and presents to conferences and seminars globally.

 

  • Niall O Donnchú

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is part of the Heritage Division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and is headed by Niall Ó Donnchú (Assistant Secretary)

 

  • Barry O'Donoghue

Dr. Barry O'Donoghue is Assistant Principal Officer with National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, with particular responsibility for agri-environmental matters. Since beginning with NPWS as a Ranger in 2005, Barry has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation, law enforcement and education, all of which are relevant to this conference.

He is responsible for the implementation of the inter-departmental protocol on bird of prey poisoning and persecution, which has been central to investigating and recording wildlife crime relating. He represents NPWS on the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use. Along with colleagues in NPWS, the Regional Vet Labs and the State Lab, and with input from various wildlife rehabbers, he has recently produced the first two annual reports on Bird of Prey Poisoning and Persecution in Ireland (2011 and 2012), which he will present to us.

 

  • Lorcan O'Toole

Lorcan is project manager of the Golden Eagle Trust, which has restored the golden eagles, white tailed eagles and red kites to Ireland in partnership with the National Parks & Wildlife Service. He is very interested in rural development and the cutural importance of nature in Ireland.

 

  • David Scallan

Dr. David Scallan is a geographer with an interest in rural policy, ecology and recreational hunting. He received his PhD in 2012, which examined the role of hunting activities in contemporary rural Ireland, in the Department of Geography, National University of Ireland Galway.

He is the Public Relations Officer (PRO) with the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), which is the largest hunting and conservation non-governmental organisation in Ireland. More specifically, it is the principle national organisation representing the interests of individuals involved in game shooting.

The Association was formed in 1968 and currently enjoys a membership of 27,000 individuals. These members, who pay an annual fee, are spread throughout 965 Gun Clubs all over the country – a Club in almost every parish. The NARGC is a Seanad Nominating Body on the Agricultural Panel. Its individual Clubs are also “Recognised Bodies” under the Wildlife Acts. This is a recognition unique to NARGC Clubs, which essentially means that the Clubs are entitled to take prosecutions for offences under the Wildlife Acts. Through his role as PRO of the NARGC, David has worked with a range of state agencies and NGOs interested in wildlife conservation.

 

  • Val Swan

Retired Conservation Ranger, National Parks and Wildlife Service

 

  • Roy Thompson

Roy studied in the UK, obtaining a BTEC National Diploma in Game, Wildlife and Habitat Management from Sparsholt College, Hampshire, in 1991, and comes from a farming background, and lifelong involvement in sustainable hunting.
Later that same year he joined NPWS as a Wildlife Ranger (the grade was later re-named 'Conservation Ranger') and was based in East Galway for a time, later transferring to Wicklow Mountains National Park for three years before again re-locating to his native Kildare, where he has been based since 1999.

In a career spanning more than two decades, he has had a keen interest in the illegal hunting side of wildlife crime, and has successfully prosecuted cases particularly relating to unlawful traps and snares. It is an area in which Roy is particularly interested.
Early instruction in lawful, sustainable methods of hunting by a particularly enlightened father, along with training received from a progressive head Game Keeper on a sporting estate in the UK, and 20 years on the job experience in the field have contributed to a belief that there is little or no excuse for employing methods of trapping and snaring other than those prescribed by law, and to a commitment to detect and prosecute hunters operating outside the law.

 

  • Martin Walker

Martin has been a member of An Garda Síochána for over 30 years. He spent 24 years as a Garda and Sergeant working and living in West Wicklow, and continued to reside in Blessington.
He was the Inspector for County Carlow since 2007 and directs on all investigation files and prosecutes weekly in the District Court. Martin has recently been promoted to Superintendent and is now based in Co Kildare.

 

  • Faith Wilson

Faith Wilson BSc, CEnv, MCIEEM, is an experienced ecologist with over ten years experience in carrying out a variety of ecological work, specialising in botanical and zoological surveys (including Cetacean, Bat, Otter, Badger, Amphibian, and Bird Surveys) and Environmental Impact Assessment.  
Since graduating in 1995, she gained international project experience including botanical surveys of sub-alpine forests in Canada, monitoring of endangered bird species in New Zealand and the Cook Islands, photo identification and acoustic surveys of killer and humpback whales in Canada and the South Pacific. 

 
She has carried out a diverse range of Environmental Impact Assessment work, three national habitat surveys for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, two county wide wetland surveys for local authorities and is a registered participating ecologist on the Native Woodland Scheme.  She is also a NPWS licensed bat specialist and member of the Heritage Council Bat Expert Panel.  
Faith has organised and lead two guided excursions to Iceland and the Baja Peninsula, Mexico in search of cetaceans, birds and other wildlife on behalf of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

 

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2015 IRISH WILDLIFE CRIME CONFERENCE

-- Progress made since 2013 and how to move forward --

         

In 2013, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland hosted Ireland’s first Wildlife Crime Conference, which brought together members of An Garda Síochána, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), veterinary practitioners, animal welfare and conservation groups and interested general public, to raise awareness of, and discuss the various issues surrounding, wildlife crime in Ireland.  Following on from this first event, the second Wildlife Crime Conference was held at the Pillo Hotel, Ashbourne on the weekend of September 12th and 13th 2015.
 
One of the aims of the second conference was to highlight the work ‘behind the scenes’ i.e. the extraordinary lengths that dedicated wildlife crime enforcement staff such as NPWS Conservation Rangers and District Conservation Officers go to in order to bring wildlife offenders to court.  If general public and government officials are made aware of the work that goes on day and night in the fight against wildlife crime, we believe it will encourage reporting and investment of time and resources into wildlife protection.

Lilian Collier (WRI)
Lilian Collier (Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland)

Positive developments and successful wildlife crime prosecutions rarely get national media attention so this conference provided a platform for groups to publicise progress made either via collaborations between organisations, increased reporting of crimes, training courses initiated, or a noted change of the public’s perception of the importance of protecting wildlife.

The 2013 conference was, as was to be expected; a sobering and quite depressing event in reflection of the then wildlife crime situation in Ireland;  the 2015 conference, in contrast, was able to show that where there’s a will there’s a way, and presented a very much more positive and hopeful outlook.

As with the first conference, the second All-Ireland Wildlife Crime Conference brought together an extremely diverse audience of over 140 delegates, for a weekend of talks and practical sessions, and again the conference was addressed by national and international speakers and addressed a wide variety of issues including bird poisoning, poaching, badger baiting, forensics, and the use of illegal traps and snares.

Mairead McGuinness (MEP)
Wildlife crime in Europe
Mairead McGuinness (MEP)

Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP, made the opening address for the second Wildlife Crime Conference on Saturday morning with a presentation; ‘Wildlife crime in Europe’, in which she stressed the importance of taking wildlife crime seriously, being the fourth largest criminal activity in the world. 
She also talked about the progress that has been made over the years especially thanks to the Birds and Habitats Directive and hopes that the review of this doesn’t dilute what it has achieved.
Much emphasis was put on the importance of raising awareness of wildlife crime, and that many people understand more about global wildlife crime issues than local crimes, and that we need to do much more about such issues as illegal hare coursing, badger baiting, trapping of wild birds, and about the serious issue of poisoning, and the misuse of legal and illegal substances in the countryside.
Discussions with NPWS and AGS led her to call for more discussion about roles and responsibilities between organisations to provide clarity on whose job it is to enforce wildlife crime, and the resources needed for them to do this.

With regard to the EU parliament, Mairead spoke about the huge amount of work that is going on in the areas of compliance, detection and monitoring of wildlife crime due to the strong links between criminal activities in general and wildlife crime. The parliament believes there is a need for a pan European harmonised response to wildlife crime and is therefore pushing for the creation of a specialised wildlife crime unit with full transnational powers and responsibilities, to facilitate a more coordinated approach to combating wildlife crime across member states.
Finally Mairead invited the attending organisations and individuals to keep in contact with her regarding these very serious issues because she pointed out; policy makers need to talk to more people on the ground so that policies put in place work rather than just being another layer of bureaucracy which are not effective or being implemented.

Maurice Eakin
What is wildlife crime?
Maurice Eakin (NPWS)

Maurice Eakin, Senior wetland ecologist with the NPWS, gave the next talk; ‘What is wildlife crime?’ which was based on his vast experience in his previous role as DCO for the NE.
Working as a DCO for the NPWS is a challenging and rewarding job he explained, but the NPWS are seriously under resourced and overwhelmed with the amount of work involved in administering and enforcing the birds and habitat’s directive and the wildlife acts.
In his talk Maurice discussed wildlife legislation, what constitutes a wildlife crime in law, and the issues in proving guilt.  He gave us this definition: wildlife crime is any act that contravenes current legislation governing the protection of wild animals and plants, and went on to explain how Ireland is signed up to many international conventions so has a duty to protect our wildlife.

The two principal pieces of national legislation protecting wildlife are the Wildlife Acts, 1976 to 2012 and the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, which transposes the E.U. Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive into Irish law. Both of those statutes are currently administered by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through the National Parks and Wildlife Service of that Department.
Maurice explained how tricky and intricate wildlife crime legislation can be, and how loopholes or technicalities can frustratingly get a case dismissed by the Chief state solicitor’s office. Nonetheless, he believes that it isn’t always about getting a successful prosecution; it’s just as important to get the message out there that this behaviour is unacceptable and there are repercussions to illegal activities.

Mick Moran
The Industrial Information revolution – what does it all mean?
Mick Moran (INTERPOL)

Mick Moran is a member of An Garda Síochána on secondment to INTERPOL in France, and he gave a talk; ‘The Industrial Information revolution – what does it all mean?’
Mick explained that INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization whose role is to provide technical and operational support to police around the world.  Crucial to this objective, is encouraging communications and partnership, even where diplomatic relations do not exist between particular countries.

He talked about the parallels between his work; combating illegal child exploitation, and that of fighting wildlife crime – the same line is always used; “I didn’t know it was against the law”. He posited that international or regional directives are the key to solving this; by putting pressure on countries to have laws on their statute books, you can then work on awareness raising to make people realise that what they’re doing is illegal.

Mick’s fascinating cybercrime talk was an eye-opener to many delegates.
To demonstrate our current situation of ‘not seeing the wood for the trees’ Mick made the analogy between the people working away in the mills in the 19th Century, not knowing at the time that they were living through the industrial revolution, to ourselves today and over the past 20 years, living through an ‘information revolution’.
He then showed a video titled 'Did you know', on the shocking speed of evolution and progression of information technology and the subsequent effect this has on our society.

The information revolution has brought both opportunities for better wildlife protection but also aided the criminals, for example, satellite tracking tags being used to identify and protect critically endangered wildlife, but poachers hacking into the tracking systems in order to kill these animals.
His keynotes were that the infrastructure on which the internet is built is insecure, and criminals exploit this all the time, and ‘if you’re not on this ship it’ll sail without you’; you must engage with this technology to combat internet crime because this is the route that crime has evolved to take.
Security is YOUR problem; so take precautions, and partnership is crucial in the fight against crime.

Ian Hutchison
Badger persecution and protection
Ian Hutchison (Scottish badgers)

Ian Hutchison is a retired police officer who turned his attention to badgers and their protection and for many years he has represented Scottish Badgers as their species protection officer. He is also the crime prevention lead for ‘Operation Meles’; an intelligence led operation targeting badger persecution as part of the UK Wildlife Crime Priorities.  Ian gave a talk titled; ‘Badger persecution and protection’.

Ian explained that his work is not so much to do with the conservation of the species but with badger welfare crimes such as badger baiting by organised and often blatant criminals, and other offenders; often members of the public, who have misconceptions about badgers and take illegal steps to remove or kill them using horrendous acts of animal cruelty.
Some of these people are ignorant of the law, others simply choose to ignore it as the penalties and risk of getting caught are small enough, that they feel it is worth their while to break the law e.g. in the cases of developers etc.

Badger baiters obviously belong to the category of those choosing to flaunt the law with no regard for animal welfare either of their dogs or the badgers. Ian explained how rare it is to catch a badger baiter in the act on scene, and that targeting the dogs is crucial to cracking down on this activity, however robust intelligence is required to do this, he said “..the baiters are organised, we need to be too”. Statistics can help; they have shown that Dec to March is the main time for badger baiting crimes, so resources need to be employed accordingly. “..If it wasn’t recorded, it didn’t happen” – without information, nothing can or will be achieved.

Ian’s most important message echoed the emerging theme; raising awareness, providing advice and education, good communication via written information sharing protocols, and establishing working partnerships to increase available resources, are all essential elements in combating wildlife crime.

Mark Lynch
Misuse of rodenticides
Mark Lynch (CRRU)

Mark Lynch, Chairman of the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) Ireland, gave the next talk; ‘Misuse of rodenticides’ in which he presented an analysis of rodenticide poisoning of birds of prey, and the positive developments made by CRRU Ireland to date.

Mark began by describing some of the reasons rodents need to be controlled; food contamination, damage to property and people by serious fires in buildings, and as disease vector species. These reasons lead people to naturally want to control rodents and as such, a vast range of legislation exists to control the method of rodent control. Mark explained that an intergrated approach is needed, and the CRRU code of conduct was designed to promote this approach.

Buzzards, Red Kites and Barn Owls are apparently the raptor species that are worst affected by ‘second generation anticoagulant rodenticides’ SGAR (where a non target species consumes another animal which has itself consumed poisoned bait). Hen Harriers, Kestrels and Long eared owls are also among the list of affected species, and based on the NPWS RAPTOR scheme, it appears that brodifacoum is the most frequently used SGAR, and alphachloralose, the most abused biocide used in raptor persecution. Mark firmly asserted that addressing the abuse would greatly benefit wildlife, these products that are illegal to use must be removed from circulation.

Mark explained that CRRU Ireland was formed at the behest of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and funded both by DAFM and the nine companies who hold the authorisation to market rodenticides in Ireland.
CRRU’s aims ‘to protect wildlife while promoting and providing effective rodent control through the responsible use of rodenticides’ are administered though a workforce of a vast range of GO’s and NGO’s in Ireland. These organisations and rodenticide companies all promote the ‘CRRU Code’ as a means to achieve this. The Code is a simple one;
ALWAYS: have a planned approach; record the quantity of bait used and where it is placed; use enough baiting points; collect and dispose of rodent bodies.

NEVER: leave bait exposed to non-target animals and birds; fail to inspect bait regularly; leave bait down at the end of the treatment.
He also suggested an additional measure ‘use placebo baiting after the end of treatment to ensure the treatment has been effective’.

Mark ended on a high note describing the great progress CRRU has made in awareness raising among those involved in the use of rodenticides via; accredited ‘Wildlife Aware’ training courses provided to rodenticide technicians; DAFM now including rodenticide control training for farmers in the ‘GLAS’ and ‘Knowledge Transfer Awareness’ schemes; planned surveys on rodenticide resistance to anticoagulants; and funding for tissue analysis for traces of rodenticides.

Lorcan O'Toole
The role of farming in wildlife conservation
Lorcan O'Toole (Golden Eagle Trust)

Lorcan O'Toole is project manager of the Golden Eagle Trust which has restored golden eagles, white tailed eagles and red kites to Ireland in partnership with the National Parks & Wildlife Service. He gave a talk; ‘The role of farming in wildlife conservation’ or as he suggested; additionally, titled ‘and/or the role of wildlife conservation in farming’.

Lorcan began by talking about the importance our ancestors; the Neolithic/bronze age people in Ireland, placed on the Eurasian Crane or ‘Corr’ in Irish. Sadly, the bird went from common and widespread throughout Ireland, to extinct in 1600 after changes in agricultural practices?? The cranes are currently thriving and breeding in the UK and Europe and will potentially one day return to Ireland.

Our attitudes to nature and the relationship between nature, people and food, are constantly changing due to many factors; some of which are within our control, other factors which are not, and others that are consequences of these.  Only a few years ago Teagasc (the Irish agriculture and food development authority) stated that ‘66% of Irish farmers are non-viable’ – the north west of Ireland suffers the most with poorer soil and habitat, highest rainfall, a decreasing general population, lowest numbers of young people, and highest unemployment rates, to name but a few.

It is therefore understandable that farmers who own, manage and work the land, are not always prepared to suddenly see or manage their land as a nature reserve simply because it gets designated as an Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protected Area (SPA) for the protection of natural habitat. It is up to us to work with their different attitude and try and find common ground in order to ensure compliance with protection of these designated areas.

Lorcan believes the ‘Burren Farming for Conservation Programme’ (2005-2010) project (http://burrenlife.com/) to be the best example of farmer/wildlife co-operation, and a successful initiative that we should aspire to replicate nationwide if we are to protect our environment.
The Burren, in Co Clare, is internationally recognised for the uniqueness, wealth and diversity of its natural heritage. As a result, much of the Burren has been designated under the EU Habitats Directive. The Burren project developed a new model of sustainable agriculture for the Burren to conserve and renew its priority habitats. 
A feature of the project and a key contributor to its success was the strong partnership amongst the stakeholders; the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Teagasc, and the Burren Irish Farmers Association.  At the heart of the project was the recognition of the role that farmers and farming practices play in the conservation of habitats.

In agreement with the other speakers, Lorcan believes that public attitude is the key to success.

He explained the ‘20 : 60 : 20 Principle’ which we should heed far more than we do.
The principle states that approximately:
• 20% of the people will immediately be on board with whatever you are saying
• 20% of the people will immediately be opposed to whatever you are saying
• 60% of the people can be influenced one way or the other depending on future interactions

To reduce wildlife crime, Lorcan believes that wildlife organisations, which have for too long gone their own ways, need to put more effort into co-operation, awareness raising, education and policy.

We need to accept that compromise is an essential part of negotiation, and listen to, heed, and improve communications with the general public, (especially the 60%!)

Oonagh Duggan
Ireland's wild birds and the law
Oonagh Duggan (Birdwatch Ireland)

Oonagh Duggan from Birdwatch Ireland discussed the importance of defending the laws protecting Ireland’s wild birds. This legislation is currently being reviewed in the EU, and it is feared that the review here in Ireland of Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts could devastate the populations of already endangered native birds. 

Barry O'Donoghue
The RAPTOR scheme
Barry O'Donoghue (NPWS)

Barry O’Donoghue discussed the protocols and reporting procedures under the NPWS RAPTOR scheme (Recording and Addressing the Persecution of Our Raptors), which can identify pressures on birds of prey and inform enforcement procedures and policy.  

Faith Wilson
Undesignated Irish wetlands - a disappearing resource
Faith Wilson (Ecological Consultant)

Ecologist Faith Wilson reported on the issue of undesignated Irish wetlands, and encouraged delegates to suggest to their local councils that they conduct a wetland assessment for their county in order to protect these valuable habitats.  

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Practical sessions were also another strong component of this year’s conference

John Carslake
John Carslake (Boleybrack Red Grouse Habitat Management Project)

with demonstrations on identifying wildlife from their tracks and trails;

Roy Thompson
Roy Thompson (NPWS)

different traps and snares that are used;  

Michael Casey
Mícheál Casey (Dept of Agriculture, Food & the Marine)

and preserving evidence at a crime scene. 

Discussion Panel
The real Crime Scene Investigation
Discussion Panel

Based on experience from real life cases, NPWS Conservation Rangers produced ‘mock’ crime scenes for practical sessions and, through a discussion session with delegates, the panel shared their expertise and offered advice on recording and reporting, for the general public who may come across such crime scenes. 
Discussion Panel: Emma Meredith (PSNI Wildlife Liason Officer), Martin Walker (Gardai), Mícheál Casey (DAFM), Bob Elliot (RSPB), Clyde Hutchinson (Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland), Tríona Finnen, Colm Malone, Noel Bugler (NPWS)

Saturday evening lecture

 

Mick Moran
'Connected kids, disconnected parents - the creation of a digital environment around your child'

Mick Moran presented a cybercrime talk at the conference and also kindly offered to share some of his extensive wisdom about online safety of young children based on his work in INTERPOL.

INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization whose role is to provide technical and operational support to police around the world. Crucial to this objective, is encouraging communications and ultimatly partnership, even where diplomatic relations do not exist between particular countries.

Since coming to INTERPOL Mick has been attached to the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation unit. He currently heads up that team as the Assistant Director and manages the team that deals with Human Trafficking globally as well as the international aspects of child exploitation such as online, travelling sex offenders and missing children.

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SUNDAY

Niall O' Donnchu
Niall O Donnchú (NPWS)

The National Parks and Wildlife Service, part of the Heritage Division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, is headed by Niall Ó Donnchú (Assistant Secretary), and it was he who made the opening address on the second day of the conference, and discussed the NPWS’ role in prevention and prosecution of wildlife crime.  

Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy
Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy (Gardai)

An Garda Síochána were represented by Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy and Superintendent Martin Walker, who discussed how the Gardaí can support the NPWS in prevention of wildlife crime, and how by working together there has been greater success in combating wildlife crime. The full horror of wildlife crime was brought home to the delegates by the screening of seized footage, which showed a deer being dragged by dogs goaded on by their owner!  

Stephen Clifford
Stephen Clifford (Forensic Science Laboratory)

The Forensic Science Laboratory was present, with Stephen Clifford showing the forensic side of solving crimes and the role the Forensic Laboratory take in prosecutions. 

Superintendent Martin Walker
Superintendent Martin Walker (Gardai)

Superintendent Martin Walker talked about how joint operations by NPWS and Gardaí can lead to greater success in combating wildlife crime. 

Damien Hannigan
Damien Hannigan (Wild Deer Association of Ireland)

Damien Hannigan from the Wild Deer Association of Ireland reported on how the WDAI have been working closely with many stakeholder groups to combat deer poaching. 

David Scallon
David Scallon (NARGC)

David Scallon of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) discussed a Gun Club's perspective of the Wildlife Acts.  

Jesmond Harding
Jesmond Harding (Butterfly Conservation Ireland)

The implications for butterflies in relation to potential Section 40 changes were also highlighted by Jesmond Harding from Butterfly Conservation Ireland, as well as how habitat destruction and illegal collectors are adding to the problems for butterflies.

Bob Elliot
Bob Elliot (RSPB)

Bob Elliot, Head of Investigation for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), shared some examples and insights from their wealth of wildlife investigations.

Andrew Kelly
Andrew Kelly (ISPCA)

Animal welfare, conservation and ecology groups provided their expertise too. Andrew Kelly, CEO of the ISPCA, highlighted the role of the ISPCA in combating wildlife crime, and the value of the 2013 Animal Health and Welfare Act whose use, it in conjunction with the Wildlife Act, is helping them to bring about wildlife crime prosecutions.

Ciara Flynn
Ciara Flynn (NPWS)

Ciara Flynn highlighted the worrying trends in illegal trading of animals, including that of Ireland being a hub for the illegal passage of rhino horn across Europe, and explained that the NPWS are actively encouraging members of the public to report suspected crime such as song bird poaching and the illegal trade in animal skins in the fashion industry. 

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John Harrison
John Harrison (Dept of Agriculture, Food & the Marine)

Understanding and identifying poisons.

Bob Elliot and John Harrison
Bob Elliot and John Harrison

Discussion - poisons and the law

Harriet Brooks, Alex Barlow
Harriet Brooks, Alex Barlow (Veterinary pathologists)

Harriet and Alex gave a joint presentation by narrating video footage filmed specifically to illustrate how and when to, and the importance of, conducting a forensic post mortem examination.

Kieran Corry
Kieran Corry (Veterinary surgeon)

Kieran Corry gave delegates an insight into the veterinary treatment of wildlife crime casualties.

WCI website
www.wildlifecrime.ie

To conclude, a new wildlife crime website: www.wildlifecrime.ie and wildlife crime information leaflet was also launched at the conference. This website is a comprehensive site for the general public to get information on what to do and who to call for help in Ireland should a wildlife crime be suspected.
 
Ireland has made great strides since the first Wildlife Crime Conference in 2013. Wildlife crime reporting and prosecution is a multi agency cooperation, and recently, Irish farmers are becoming active in reporting poaching and illegal hare coursing despite the threat of being targeted by criminal gangs. 

Hopefully this second conference will continue to enhance collaborative working amongst all wildlife protection and enforcement groups and agencies, and ensure that wildlife crime will receive the priority that truly it deserves.

WildlifeCrimeLeaflet

 

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Venue: Pillo Hotel, Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland

map

 

 


Driving directions:

From Dublin Airport:
From the airport follow signs for the M1 (Southbound) and the M50 (Southbound). Merge onto the M1 and stay in the left hand lane. After approximately 2km, take the slip road for the M50 (Southbound).
Stay on the motorway for 2 junctions, following signs for the N2, Ashbourne & Derry. Once you are on the N2/M2, after approximately 14km you will come to another roundabout where the hotel will be situated just off the 2nd exit.

From the M1 (Drogheda South junction):
Take the Drogheda / Duleek exit off the motorway and got through the toll booth on the slip road. At the roundabout at the top of the slip road take the 2nd exit signposted for Duleek. At the next roundabout take the 3rd exit towards Duleek / Ashbourne.
Go under the motorway and take the 2nd exit at the next roundabout, again signposted for Duleek / Ashbourne. Continue for 16km until you reach the junction with the N2. Turn left towards Ashbourne and travel along the N2 for approximately 8km until you reach a roundabout. At the roundabout take the first exit into the hotel.

 

Public Transport directions:

From Dublin airport:
Bus number 109A click HERE for timetable

Taxi from Dublin airport roughly €48 (each way)

From Dublin city:
Bus number 103 stops directly opposite Pillo Hotel. Click HERE for timetable

 

 

 

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