Reports of wildlife crime are on the rise
Wildlife crime reports have rocketed in Northern Ireland, with a fourfold increase in bat persecution incidents and cases of bird nest destruction surging by more than 10 times.
Environmental experts believe the increase may be down to people becoming more aware that destroying a bat roost or bird's nest is illegal and reporting incidents to the police.
Bat persecution cases have risen from one in 2010 to four last year, according to the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime's (PAWNI) Birds and Bats Group.
Meanwhile, last year 29 people reported concerns about nest destruction compared to just two the year before.
"Last year we aimed to increase the number of reported incidents by 25%," RSPB spokesperson Stephanie Sim said.
"As the statistics obtained from the National Wildlife Crime Unit clearly show, the increase was many times that."
PAWNI monitors bat roost and nest destruction and members include the PSNI, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, NI Bat Group and the RSPB.