skip to main content

Protected species

Although protected areas can safeguard species within their boundaries, some animals and plants are so threatened or vulnerable that they need legal protection wherever they occur.

Scottish Natural Heritage's primary responsibility with protected species is through the licensing of activities that would otherwise constitute an offence.  The licensing system is part of a legal framework in order to reduce wildlife crime.  It is everyone's responsibility to act within the law.

Bottlenosed Dolphins in the Moray Firth, east Highland Area. ©Lorne Gill. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Protected species A-Z

Find protected species guidance using our A - Z listing.

Ragged Robin. ©Lorne Gill. For information on reproduction rights contact Scottish Natural Heritage on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Which species are protected?

Find out which species are protected and what that protection means.

Assorted SNH publications. ©SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Legal framework

Scotland's wildlife is protected under five main pieces of legislation.

Daubenton's bat (Mytosis Daubentonii). ©John Haddow/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Your responsibilities

If you think that an activity you wish to undertake might affect a protected species and commit an offence then you may need a licence.

Dead buzzard. © Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Wildlife crime

Wildlife crime has the potential to damage and destroy some of our most important natural assets and we are committed to combating it.

Rhododendron ponticum. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.snh.gov.uk

Non native species

New provisions governing the introduction of non-native species

Life logo - ©SNH. For advice on reproduction rights please contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 458541 or www.snh.gov.uk

Life+ nature and biodiversity projects

Species projects funded by Life+ the European Unions fund for environmental and nature projectS


Related Links

Scotland's trends

Scotland's trends

Find out more about how Scotland's protected areas and species are changing over time.

Scotland's Wildlife: the Law and You

Scotland's Wildlife: the Law and You

This leaflet gives a general introduction to protected species.



Last updated on Tuesday 23rd July 2013 at 12:19 PM. Click here to comment on this page