Protection for wildlife

Protection for wildlife

Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Wildlife crime

Wildlife crime can take many forms and it can be difficult to know what constitutes a crime. There are a number of laws and other legislative instruments that exist to protect wildlife on the Isle of Man.

Most are instruments passed under Manx law by Tynwald, but others are international regulations or agreements that the Island is a signatory to. In many cases there is a government department responsible for the licensing and regulation of the various protected species and in most cases it is the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture. Actual contravention of the rules is usually a matter for the Police and their Wildlife Crime Officers to investigate and enforce.

Legislation under Manx law

The Wildlife Act 1990  
The 1990 Act is the primary wildlife protection legislation in day to day application. It sets out schedules of Manx species of animal and plant that are protected by law from injury or disturbance. It also establishes the legal protection of Areas of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves. 

This list of species was revised in 2004, and the Act itself received some amendment under the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act in 2008. Full details are available from the DEFA website.

The Game Acts 1882 - 1971  
Set out those species of game that may not be lawfully taken during their respective closed seasons and the manner in which game may be taken

The Wild Birds Act (now repealed)  
Allowed the designation of Wild Bird Sanctuaries and these are now replaced by Areas of Special Protection

The Heather Burning Code 
Not a legal instrument but provides best practice on the burning of heather moorland

The Curraghs Act 1963 
Protects all species of bird and animal from being killed or taken by various means, within the Curragh area unless authorised to do so

International Conventions and Agreements

Bern Convention 
On the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats – focusing on scarce and vulnerable species 

Bonn Convention 
On the conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals – covers bats, birds and cetaceans 

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 
An international convention to protect against international trade in species threatened with extinction

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of Importance 
Covers the Ballaugh Curragh Ramsar site 

Rio Convention on Biological Diversity 
Seeks to halt the loss of species and ensure all signatories maintain the diversity of organisms within their territory 

Oslo-Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR) 
Sets out to protect the sea against pollution and the adverse effects of human activities and to restore marine ecosystems and habitats 

Additional information on all these International Conventions are available online or from DEFA.

Manx protected species

Birds 
All species of bird are protected from killing or disturbance while nesting and over 70 species of bird receive additional protection against disturbance or injury under the Wildlife Act. In addition, many of the international conventions cover bird species. 

Seals 
All species are protected under the Wildlife Act 

Whales and dolphins (cetaceans) 
All species are protected under the Wildlife Act, the Bonn Convention and to a degree by OSPAR

Bats 
All species are protected from injury or disturbance by the Wildlife Act as well as migratory species covered by the Bonn Convention 

Basking Shark 
Protected under the Wildlife Act and the Bonn Convention 

Frogs 
Our only native species of amphibian, they receive protection under the Wildlife Act 

Lizard, common 
Our only native species of reptile, they receive protection under the Wildlife Act 

Invertebrates 
Two species of moths, three species of crickets and grasshoppers and the lesser beefly are protected under the Wildlife Act 

Plants 
All wild plants are protected against unauthorised persons uprooting them. In addition, all Orchids and 75 other rare species of plant receive additional protection by the Wildlife Act against being picked or destroyed