Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)

  • The Wildlife Incident Unit (WIU) plays a key role in investigating the effects of pesticides on animals and the environment, through its contribution to the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)*.
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Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)

During a typical year, Feras Wildlife Incident Unit (WIU) investigates around 150 cases, and over a third of these will be attributed to pesticides. In many cases, the pesticides have not been correctly used and this may result in enforcement action, such as a criminal prosecution. In these cases, the WIU team can provide expert witness statements.

A recent study by Fera, Natural England, Institute of Zoology and NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have published a paper on the 'Poisoning of reintroduced red kites (Milvus Milvus) in England which concludes that the poisoning of red kites may be slowing their rate of population recovery and range expansion in England.


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Report pesticide poisoning

Please call the WIIS (Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme) on 0800 321600 if you see:

  • Any animals you suspect may have been poisoned by pesticides.
  • Any spillage of a pesticide, particularly coloured seed, grain or pellets.
  • Any potentially poisonous baits, such as dead animals cut open and staked out.

Please provide the following information:

  • The location of the incident.
  • The number and type of casualties, or suspected poisonous baits.
  • Why you believe pesticides are involved.
  • Your name and contact telephone number.

The WIU also contribute to the WILDCOMS network - a collaborative network formed between various UK surveillance schemes that monitor disease and contaminants in vertebrate wildlife.

Novel analytical services and pesticide poisoning data

The WIU uses powerful analytical chemistry techniques to test tissue samples taken from wildlife and other animals where poisoning, through the use of pesticides, is the suspected cause of death. The WIU compile and interpret this data, and together with other evidence it is a valuable dataset of animal mortality investigations and pesticide poisoning data, which informs both regulation and pesticide detection techniques.

The WIU has the capability and expertise to test for a range of pesticide compounds across many sample types, such as animal tissue, formulations and a range of environmental samples, including pollen and insects. The WIU carries out pesticide analysis on samples obtained during WIIS investigations in England and Wales and interprets the results.

The team is heavily involved in research and development into improved methods of analysis for pesticide detection.

The WIIS data for the UK is published quarterly and a compilation of it is available from The Chemicals Regulation Division of the Health and Safety Executive

Health and Safety Executive (External Website)

The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) investigates deaths of wildlife, pet animals and beneficial invertebrates in the UK if there is evidence to suggest that they may have been poisoned or put at risk by pesticides.

- Any spillage of a pesticide, particularly coloured seed, grain or pellets.

- Any potentially poisonous baits, such as dead animals cut open and staked out.

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