PUPILS in North Lanarkshire are helping tackle wildlife crime as part of an project to stamp out badger baiting.
Animal charities say illegal badger baiting, where badgers are pulled from their setts to be attacked by dogs, is still common.
A key way to prevent the crime is to record and monitor the animals' setts – which is where local youngsters are getting involved.
Children from three primaries in Kilsyth and Cumbernauld will survey local woods for badgers.
Elaine Rainey, development officer for the charity Scottish Badgers, said: "Together we'll be tracking badgers, gathering night-time footage of the badgers at their setts and creating mini-documentaries to showcase their findings to a wider audience.
"Not only are these activities fun and rewarding in themselves, but the school children are really making a difference in the fight against badger crime.
"The project also links in with their school curriculum, so they are actually able to take the classroom outside during this project."
Children from Banton, Carbrain and Whitelees primary schools will be surveying local woods for badgers. They will record any badger setts they find and then monitoring them to see how many badgers are living there, and if there are any cubs.
Pupils said the project is fun - but it has it's downsides.
Jasmine Geor, from Banton Primary School, said: "I've really enjoyed looking for signs of badgers in the woods.
"The only part I wasn't keen on though was looking for the badger dung."
The Lottery funded project, arranged by environmental education specialists Under The Trees, will run until July.
The children taking part in the project will also be penning poetry about their experiences, as part of a competition to launch the new David Stephen Memorial Cup.
Their work will also be put forward to be considered for publication in The Scottish Poetry Library's Anthology of Children's Poetry.