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BTO cracks down on celebrities who disturb nests for photo opps

The British Trust for Ornithology [BTO] today announced it was making urgent changes to the requirements for a new Schedule 1 permit, where the applicant is neither a current licensed ringer nor an existing Schedule 1 permit holder.

In a message to all members the BTO said: 'The changes detailed in this email stem from discussion with the Statutory Nature Conservation Body [SNCB] Licensing Team, initiated by concern raised with BTO by existing license holders. The concerns raised related to the potential risks posed to birds, should the application protocol fail to filter out those individuals with intent to disturb breeding efforts.'

Disturbance of a Schedule 1 bird is a crime under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and can carry a punishment of up to six months in jail.

Last year Chris Packham was reported to Hampshire police after appearing to sniff goshawk chicks in a recording of The One Show.

Although all charges were eventually dropped after the investigation Jemima Parry-Jones, a leading authority on birds of prey and conservation, said at the time handling any wild bird must be done quickly, with the minimum of noise, numbers of people and interference to minimise the risk of harm. “When the face of a human, effectively their only natural predator, appears over the edge of a nest it will cause them huge distress. There is absolutely no excuse for spending half a day filming like this.”

The changes to the licensing scheme will be brought in immediately.


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