Protection for Wildlife

There are a number of laws and other legislative instruments that exist to protect wildlife on the Isle of Man.

Most are instruments passed under Manx law by Tynwald, but others are international regulations or agreements that the Island is a signatory to.

In many cases there is a government department responsible for the licensing and regulation of the various protected species and in most cases it is the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture.

Actual contravention of the rules is usually a matter for the Police and their Wildlife Crime Officers to investigate and enforce.


Legislation under Manx law:

The Wildlife Act 1990
The 1990 Act is the primary wildlife protection legislation in day to day application. It sets out schedules of Manx species of animal and plant that are protected by law from injury or disturbance. It also establishes the legal protection of Areas of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves.

This list of species was revised in 2004, and the Act itself received some amendment under the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act in 2008. Full details are available from the DEFA website.

The Game Acts 1882 - 1971
Set out those species of game that may not be lawfully taken during their respective closed seasons, and the manner in which game may be taken.

The Wild Birds Act (now repealed)
Allowed the designation of Wild Bird Sanctuaries and these are now replaced by Areas of Special Protection

The Heather Burning Code
Not a legal instrument but provides best practice on the burning of heather moorland

The Curraghs Act 1963
Protects all species of bird and animal from being killed or taken by various means, within the Curragh area unless authorised to do so.


International Conventions and Agreements:

Bern Convention
On the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats – focusing on scarce and vulnerable species

Bonn Convention
On the conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals – covers bats, birds and cetaceans

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
An international convention to protect against international trade in species threatened with extinction

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of Importance
Covers the Ballaugh Curragh Ramsar site

Rio Convention on Biological Diversity
Seeks to halt the loss of species and ensure all signatories maintain the diversity of organisms within their territory

Oslo-Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR)
Sets out to protect the sea against pollution and the adverse effects of human activities and to restore marine ecosystems and habitats

Additional information on all these International Conventions are available online or from DEFA.


Summary of Manx protected species:

All species of bird are protected from killing or disturbance while nesting and over 70 species of bird receive additional protection against disturbance or injury under the Wildlife Act. In addition many of the international conventions cover bird species.

All species are protected under the Wildlife Act

Whales and dolphins (cetaceans)
All species are protected under the Wildlife Act, the Bonn Convention and to a degree by OSPAR

All species are protected from injury or disturbance by the Wildlife Act as well as migratory species covered by the Bonn Convention

Basking Shark
Protected under the Wildlife Act and the Bonn Convention

Our only native species of amphibian, they are receive protection under the Wildlife Act

Lizard, common
Our only native species of reptile, they receive protection under the Wildlife Act

Two species of moths, three species of crickets and grasshoppers and the lesser beefly are protected under the Wildlife Act

All wild plants are protected against unauthorised persons uprooting them. In addition all Orchids and 75 other rare species of plant receive additional protection by the Wildlife Act against being picked or destroyed