Wildlife Crime in the Heart of Herefordshire

Tuesday 30th January 2018

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust are alarmed at a number of wildlife crime incidents centred around the popular Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve.

On Thursday 25th January, a dead barn owl was found near the lake shore, having been shot. These increasingly rare and beautiful birds are declining across the UK, and pose absolutely no threat to human livelihoods. This sad incident follows a number of otter deaths, just south of Bodenham Lake.

In November 2017 two dead otters were found near Wellington in suspicious circumstances. This follows reports of illegal trapping of otter in the nearby area. We are awaiting results of a post mortem from Cardiff University.

Otters are afforded the highest level of legal protection in the UK, to halt the near extinction of this beautiful mammal in much of the country by the mid-20th century. The many lakes and wetlands in the Lugg valley are a vital refuge for this secretive species, so any loss of breeding adults is a serious blow for the Herefordshire population.

As protected species, any details about these crimes should be reported to the West Mercia Police Wildlife Crime officer, PC Sarah Ranson-Williams.

The Trust has also had recent reports of someone illegally moving invasive American signal crayfish from the River Lugg at Bodenham to other watercourses in Herefordshire. This poses a huge threat to our native white clawed crayfish, as the American species often carries the crayfish plague – an infection deadly to our native crawfish that are now at risk of extinction. If you see a crayfish trap without an Environment Agency licence tag please call 0800 80 70 60.

Bodenham Lake nature reserve is owned by Herefordshire Council and managed by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, in partnership with New Leaf Sustainable Development Ltd. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust runs a number of education events, guided walks and school visits to the reserve. More information about Bodenham Lake and how to get involved can be found at: www.herefordshirewt.org/bodenhamlakeproject