The Secret Monitor: Linhope Estate, Northumberland

The Secret Monitor

Damaging stories from inside hunting and shooting have been circulating for years. Both industries present a public face that aims to convince politicians and the public alike that everything they do is lawful or ‘sustainable’. The truth is very different, and much of what takes place is out sight. Supporters, clients and even the police […]

Taking on the bird shooting industry: our plans

end dhooting

At Protect the Wild we say we want three things: to end hunting, end bird shooting, and end the badger cull. Over the last year we have pretty much focussed on hunting with dogs: mainly fox hunting, but in a series of animations and Secret Monitor posts also stag and hind hunting, and hare coursing […]

GRAPHIC IMAGES: Stink Pits – as disgusting as they sound

stink pits as disgusting as they sound

Anyone who comes across one of the shooting industry’s ‘hidden secrets’ will know immediately how stink pits got their name. Also known as middens, stink pits are ‘built’ by gamekeepers on shooting estates. They are pits or piles of dumped rotting mammal and bird carcasses which literally ‘stink’ and are used as bait to lure […]

Hackney resident woken to sound of gunshots as foxes shot in vicarage

On 23 June, Hackney resident Claire was suddenly woken by the sound of gunshots. Highly alarmed she realised that the shots were coming from the vicarage her garden backed on. Inside the vicarage was a young family. What on earth was happening…? Claire, who told Protect the Wild she has worked in war zones in […]

#RsetsoreNatureNow march – 60000 of us heading in the same direction

Restore Nature Now March London June 2024

On Saturday 22 June, 60,000 activists walked through London. All ages, all backgrounds, an almost unimaginably broad range of interests and concerns. Even a few years ago we might have seemed disparate, unconnected with each other, but for a glorious, precious few hours we united behind two simple messages: 1) our world is dying, we […]

ENGLAND: Glue Trap ban in force soon!

glue trap

Glue traps, sometimes referred to as sticky boards or glue boards, are used to trap mice or rats. Non-drying adhesive is placed on a board and as animals walk across them they are trapped and unable to escape, their fur or limbs becoming increasingly stuck to the glue as they try to wriggle free. Thankfully countries […]

Labour Party manifesto and the Cull: the key word is ‘ineffective’

Labour Party says badger cull ineffective

The party manifestos are now out. There isn’t really a great deal for us pro-wildlife folk to get excited about, but we are intrigued by a few short lines referring to the badger cull in the Labour Manifesto—specifically the inclusion of the word “ineffective.” That’s because we think, as campaigners against the badger cull, we […]

The Secret Monitor: Endsleigh Shoot, Devon

The Secret Monitor

Damaging stories from inside hunting, shooting, and the badger cull have been circulating for years. Everything from breaking the law to assaults or harassment of monitors and the public while a police force seems happy to ‘look the other way’. But there is always someone watching, always someone listening. The Secret Monitor. In this post […]

THE KILLING CONTINUES: Defra issue new badger cull licences

Earlier this year, Defra (the government department working on behalf of the hunting, shooting, farming and fishing industries) launched a ‘sham consultation’, allegedly seeking input for plans to continue killing badgers for the dairy industry. If the government were to go ahead with those plans, licences might be indefinitely issued to kill 100% of badgers […]

Northern Ireland: Red Kite euthanised after shooting

A Red Kite was so seriously injured in a shooting last month that she had to be euthanised by a vet treating her. Well-known throughout the Mournes, in Co Down, the bird, nicknamed Vivienne after the identifying tags ‘6V’ attached to her wing, was found injured in Newry, on Saturday, April 20. X-rays found that […]

Government badger cull plans on hold

Back in March, Defra (the government department working on behalf of the hunting, shooting, farming and fishing industries) launched a ‘sham consultation’, allegedly seeking input for its pre-decided plans to continue killing badgers for the dairy industry. If the government were to go ahead with those plans, Natural England would issue licences indefinitely to kill 100% […]

Yorkshire Dales: new report proves it’s a raptor persecution hot spot

Yorkshire Dales National Park is a raptor persecution hot spot

The Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey ‘Partnership’ (YDBPP) recently published a ‘Bird of Prey Evidence Report’ which supposedly documents the status of raptors in the ‘national park’ and provides details of confirmed illegal persecution between 2022-2023. England’s ‘national parks’ are notorious persecution hotspots, so any truly independent analysis should slam the management of the grouse […]

We’re supporting a new sab group in the west of England

The 2023/24 ‘hunting season’ (and how appalling is it that a wildlife crime still has the term ‘season’ attached to it?) may have ended at last, but that doesn’t mean that monitor and sab groups are not making plans and rebuilding or restocking after a bruising nine months – or that Protect the Wld is […]

Yet another raptor killed in Peak District National Park

Shot Peregrine Peak District April 2024

Derbyshire Police are working with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) after an adult female Peregrine Falcon was discovered shot in the Peak District at Hey Clough off the A628 Woodhead Pass, near Crowden, on Saturday, April 4. Like all birds of prey, peregrines are fully protected by law (see our page […]

Is the Chepstow Show inviting hunts again?

It looked for a while that organisers of the Chepstow Show – keen to avoid a repeat of the tricky questions they received last year about Hunts parading in the ‘Main Ring’ – had come up with a cunning plan. Leaked minutes from a planning committee meeting in February suggested that they would invite the […]

Builder destroys three bat roosts fined £111

A Caerphilly-based builder has received a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £111 – roughly equivalent to a day’s pay for someone on the average UK wage – for illegally removing a roof at a property and destroying THREE separate bat roosts where protected Common Pipistrelles, Soprano Pipistrelles, and Whiskered Bats were […]

United Pack steal monitor’s drone

On 24th February 2024, volunteers with Shropshire Wildlife Monitors were monitoring the Bishops Castle-based United Pack (UP), who were holding their last meet of the ‘season’ at Newton Farm. Amongst the volunteers was a drone operator. The day ended with the UP stealing the drone and driving away with it. The United Pack may not […]

Fox thrown to hounds – another Avon Vale Hunt member sentenced

Thomas Ledbury convicted terrierman Avon Vale Hunt

A terrierman who was working for the now disbanded Avon Vale Hunt when he ‘supervised’ a live fox being thrown to a pack of hounds in December 2020 has been sentenced. 38-year-old Thomas Ledbury pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting another to commit the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to a fox. Ledbury, who lives […]

Ireland: Badgers, wildlife crime, and a dangerous legal precedent

Rehabbed badger by Ruari O Leochain

(This post has been written in collaboration with Ruairí Ó Leocháin of ‘Stand with Badgers’. Please note Ruari’s ask at the bottom of the page.) Speaking on wildlife crime in the Irish Examiner last December, veteran environmentalist and Green Party Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan said “We are seeing […]

South Durham Hunt: yet another hunt recorded breaking the law

Illegal fox hunting and North East Hunt Monitors

The evidence that hunts don’t just break the law occasionally but break it routinely has never been seen by so many people. From Channel 4 exposes to numerous Facebook pages managed by monitors and sabs, the lie that fox hunts are just ‘out trail hunting’ has been exposed over and over again this so-called ‘hunting […]

The Muirburn Bill – an achievement but nowhere near the end

Yesterday Holyrood passed the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill, stating on their website that “Scotland’s wildlife will benefit from increased protection thanks to a new law passed by the Scottish Parliament.” The new law has been designed to implement the recommendations set out in the Werritty Review which was published in December 2019. Undoubtedly […]

Holderness Hunt kill badger – and run away!

On 27 January this year, Hull Wildlife Protectors (HWP) were monitoring the Holderness Hunt (who are based at Etton, near Beverly) when they witnessed a fox fleeing across one of the region’s wide flat fields. Huntsman Tom Wright (formerly with the notorious Cheshire Forest Hunt) was seen to deliberately lead the hunt’s hounds along the […]

White-tailed Eagle shot in Ireland

Young White-tailed Eagle found shot dead in Ireland March 2024.NPWS

A young female White-tailed Eagle was found shot dead in Ireland last week. Part of a long-running national reintroduction programme run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) she had been released at Lough Derg, Co Donegal two years ago, and was found by Cranberry Lough 180km to the south.

Badger Cull U-Turn: “Sunak now wants all the badgers dead”


Sunak now wants all the badgers dead and this looks like a last chance grab at getting widespread culling back in place so it is difficult for Labour to scrap it as promised, in favour of the urgent cattle testing policy revisions that Defra have suppressed with their BTB partnership cabal which was recently exposed on the Badger Crowd website.”

GREAT NEWS! Yet another hunt is going…

Great news. Pendle Forest and Craven Harriers Hunt is folding

The Pendle Forest and Craven Harriers, a hare hunt covering Lancashire and North Yorkshire and based at kennels at Coniston Hall near Skipton, are disbanding. They join a long list of hunts folding as landowners and the public turn more and more against them. The Hunt made the announcement on 12 March, saying that the […]

We can all help tackle the scourge of egg collecting

In late February a serial egg thief admitted to illegally hoarding thousands of rare birds’ eggs he’d stolen. Daniel Lingham, 71, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to five offences involving 2995 eggs, including taking eggs from a non-schedule 1 wild bird (a Nightjar) on 9 June 2023 at Holt, Norfolk. Lingham […]

Footage of stag hunt reveals blatant lawbreaking by Devon and Somerset Staghounds

The team at Wildlife Guardian recently posted brief but evocative footage of part of a stag hunt that took place on the 7th of March near the three-hundred-acre League Against Cruel Sports’ Baronsdown Sanctuary on Exmoor. While the video isn’t as dramatic as some that have hit the internet this past ‘hunting season’, it encapsulates […]

Illegal to cut a hedge in Spring? Yes – and no…

Nest. Photo by Luke Brugger on Unsplash

Despite what the weather outside might suggest (it’s cool and wet across the UK as of writing), wild birds – in an admirable show of resilience – will soon be breeding again. This is the start of a critical time of the year when birds are looking for safe places to nest and to rebuild […]

Ex-gamekeeper guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to magpies

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) is reporting that former gamekeeper (turned labourer, apparently) Alexander Hamilton was sentenced to a five-year ban from owning and keeping animals and was given 100 hours of community service at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday, 5 March. 64-year-old Hamilton pled guilty to trapping […]

Industrial scale of pheasant shooting revealed

Two pheasants flying

The industrial scale of rearing pheasants for the shooting industry has been uncovered by Who Owns England’s Guy Shrubsole in a series of FOI requests on the poultry registry made to APHA (the Animal and Plant Health Agency). Every year the shooting industry releases around 40 million Common Pheasants and 10 million Red-legged Partridges for […]

Fox Killer Baits: Illegal, reckless, and probably a scam.

Protect the Wild was recently sent a link to a product allegedly on sale in the UK – Fox Killer Baits – that is illegal to use here, is supported by reckless and negligent advice – and to top it all it seems to be being sold on what may well be a scam site anyway!

Roaming to Ukraine: Part Two – back out to Ukraine again

Back in early 2022, Protect the Wild was contacted by a member of the Roaming Sabs who asked if we could help provide a grant towards a vehicle – a vehicle which was going to be driven from Manchester right across Europe into a war zone to help animals! While we typically fund monitor groups […]

Equipment Fund #19: North East Hunt Monitors

As an organisation we do prefer to look forward rather than look back, but it has been a good month for the Equipment Fund – and ‘Equipment Fund 2.0’! How so? Because we recently saw paid subscriptions on our Substack soar over the 600 mark! That’s great news because every single penny we raise from […]

Hunting: A Case for Change. Thousands of foxes still being chased or killed

Protect the Wild recently published “Hunting: A Case for Change“, a 50-page report that offers a thorough examination of hunting practices during the 2022/23 season, focusing predominantly on fox, hare, and deer hunting in England and Wales. Author Glen Black utilised a combination of online data from anti-hunting groups, public reports, and activist observations to […]

We’re launching the Protecting the Wild Support Network

We have some news to announce – and we’re pretty excited about it: the launch of the Protecting the Wild Support Network (aka – to save our typing fingers – ‘the support network’). What (we’re hoping you’ll be asking) is the ‘support network’? Well, thank you for your interest. The Support Network is our way […]

Derwent Hunt filmed trespassing on nature reserve

Video evidence clearly showing the Derwent Hunt blatantly taking a pack of hounds onto a much-loved local nature reserve has been shared with Protect the Wild. On Saturday 27 January this year, North Yorkshire’s Derwent Hunt was filmed riding with hounds into Chafer Wood, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) Nature Reserve which is described as […]

Protecting the Wild Equipment Fund #18: Teesside Anti Blood Sports

It was only a few weeks ago that we wrote about reaching a major milestone: 500 paid subscribers here on Substack. It’s quite something to be able to report now that the figure has jumped to just over 600! That’s incredibly motivating for us, because every single penny we raise from paid subs goes straight […]

The Secret Monitor: East Yorkshire’s Holderness Hunt

The Secret Monitor

Damaging stories from inside hunting, shooting, and the badger cull have been circulating for years. Everything from breaking the law to assaults or harassment of monitors and the public but a police force seemingly happy to ‘look the other way’. But there is always someone watching, always someone listening. The Secret Monitor. In this post […]

122 Hen Harriers confirmed ‘missing’ or illegally killed in UK since 2018

Hen Harrier and chick

Using data from the RSPB and Natural England, the UK’s leading website on the illegal persecution of birds of prey, Raptor Persecution UK (RPUK), published the details yesterday of each of 122 Hen Harriers confirmed ‘missing’ or illegally killed in the UK since 2018. Hen Harriers are the most persecuted bird of prey in Britain […]

‘Stop and search’ of monitor at Boxing Day parade raises serious questions

At the Abergavenny Boxing Day Parade of the Monmouth Hunt, Gwent Police made a formal ‘stop and search’ of a monitor. Helen was standing quietly on the side of a busy high street that at the time was almost empty but would soon be filled with people. The police claimed to be acting on ‘information […]

Protecting the Wild Equipment Fund #17: Cotswold Hunt Sabs

As we wrote recently we reached a major milestone earlier this month: 500 paid subscribers here on Substack. Just a few weeks later that post is already very out of date! That figure is now actually nearing 600, which is fantastic news for wildlife up and down the UK because Protect the Wild takes absolutely […]

Doug Maw vs the Duke of Norfolk’s ‘predator control’

On 24 January, a judge at Lewes Crown Court in West Sussex found anti-snare campaigner, animal rescuer, and hunt sab Doug Maw not guilty on all nine charges brought against him by Edward Fitzalan-Howard, the 18th Duke of Norfolk. The charges had included trap damage (ie criminal damage) and snare theft on the Duke’s huge […]

Derbyshire man convicted of stealing Peregrine eggs

A man has been jailed after abseiling down a quarry cliff face to steal Peregrine eggs. Christopher Wheeldon was caught on hidden cameras set up by the RSPB as he abseiled down the limestone quarry (belonging to construction company Tarmac Group) in April 2023. Derbyshire Police were alerted and Wheeldon was identified and arrested. Search […]

Drone footage proves ‘no trail laid’ by Cheshire Hunt

Cheshire Independent Hunt Monitors (or the Cheshire Indies as they’re usually known) are an independent monitoring group working across the northwest of England. They focus on the Cheshire Hunt, Cheshire Forest Hunt, and the notorious Wynnstay Hunt (a hunt that has regularly featured on Protect the Wild eg see here). In November 2023 Protect the […]

Equipment Fund #15: Bodycams to protect sabs in Derbyshire

As we wrote recently – in a post that more than 30000 people have now read – we reached a major milestone earlier this month: 500 paid subscribers here on Substack. And as we explained in that same post, every single penny we’re raising through those 500 paid subscriptions is going straight into our Protecting […]

What did it take to convict huntsman Chris Woodward?

Last month Protect the Wild reported that the Wynnstay Hunt’s serial criminal former-huntsman Chris Woodward had been convicted of hunting a wild animal with dogs in Lower Wych, Wrexham, on 14 January 2023. Evidence for the conviction had come from Cheshire Borderland Monitors volunteers who had filmed Woodward galloping down a road after his hounds […]

Another Red Kite poisoned with bendiocarb

Police in Norfolk are appealing for information after tests revealed a Red Kite discovered dead in North Creake had died from suspected insecticide poisoning. Officers from Norfolk Police’s Operation Randall team have been investigating the death of the protected bird of prey, which was found by a member of the public in a field in […]

Inside Protect the Wild: why did we create Protectors of the Wild?

Many organisations – from wildlife charities to the police – ask us to ‘report wildlife crime’ when we see it taking place. The idea is that all of us can become ‘eyes in the field’, watching for crime or illegal persecution and helping stop it. It’s a simple and potentially very empowering concept. The problem […]

Protecting the Wild Equipment Fund #13: Radios for Roaming Sabs

The Protecting the Wild Equipment Fund was set up in Summer 2023 to help put ‘eyes in the field‘ and ‘eyes in the sky’, supporting and empowering people to protect British wildlife. We use the fund to provide equipment like body cams, trail cams, night vision kit, and video cameras to monitors and activists working […]

The Secret Monitor: Without fear or favour?

The Secret Monitor

Damaging stories from inside hunting, shooting, and the badger cull have been circulating for years. Everything from breaking the law to assaults or harassment of monitors and the public and a police force seemingly happy to ‘look the other way’. But there is always someone watching, always someone listening. The Secret Monitor. In their latest […]

Protecting the Wild Equipment Fund: Ren’s Wildlife Hospital

As Protect the Wild’s CEO Rob Pownall explained in a recent post (see “Can you help us build something incredible to protect wildlife?“), “We give a platform and a voice for monitors, saboteurs, anyone out in the field protecting the wild, and we channel every penny we receive from paid subscriptions on Substack to these […]

Why Protect the Wild doesn’t support licencing of the shooting industry.

Staggering levels of raptor persecution (the illegal persecution of birds of prey) have been in the news again following both the release of the RSPB’s Birdcrime report for 2022 and the Scottish Parliament voting on November 30th to support the general principles of the Wildlife Management & Muirburn Bill. The Bill includes measures to introduce […]