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How you can help

Individuals, organisations and groups with an interest in tackling wildlife crime have been advised they have a month to apply for funding to help tackle the issue.

The funding is available through PAW Scotland (the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Scotland).

Suitable projects are aimed at stamping out wildlife crime and can attract awards of up to £20,000 for the coming financial year and for up to 50% of the total project costs.

The Scottish Government provided £200,000 two years ago to support suitable projects and 2010 is the final year that funds will be available. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is administering the fund and interested parties are being urged to contact SNH before 15 February.

Wildlife crime takes many forms; from badger baiting and illegal pearl fishing to hare coursing, damaging important habitats and plants, to the illegal persecution of raptors.

Ron Macdonald, SNH's head of policy and advice said: "Everyone can play a vital role in tackling wildlife crime, from reporting it to the police, who will take the necessary action, to being vigilant when in our cities and rural areas.

"We will warmly welcome any ideas that add to our weaponry"

Louise Batchelor

PAW Scotland

"Therefore we are asking interested parties to get in touch with us at SNH or log onto the grants pages of our website to see for themselves how they can help and to do that before the 15 February deadline.

"Wildlife crime not only interferes with how we use and enjoy our natural heritage but it also threatens the survival of some of our rarest plants and animals and can cause great suffering to the species affected. We are committed to ensuring that this suffering does not continue and we are determined to play our full and active part in the fight against wildlife crime.

"It should not be forgotten also that wildlife crime constitutes a criminal act and I would urge anyone with information to contact police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

PAW spokesperson Louise Bachelor said: "It is clear from the recent evidence of poaching and persecution that we continue to have a major battle on our hands - dealing with all the threats to wildlife.

"We will warmly welcome any ideas that add to our weaponry, so please don't hesitate to get in touch if you think you can help. In these difficult financial times it's hard to know when funding for this kind of work will be available again, so it is vital to make the best use of it now."

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