A Toledo court has imposed bail for the alleged poisoning of 50 animals in a preserve in the province.
Ecologists in Action, SEO / BirdLife and WWF exercise the popular accusation in this procedure and highlight the importance of the recognition by the courts of the economic value that the irreversible loss of natural heritage implies.
The court of 1st Instance and Instruction No. 4 of Torrijos (Toledo) has imposed a bond of 168,000 euros on the three defendants for the repeated use of poison that caused the death of 55 specimens of fauna in the preserve of the Casa Nueva in Gerindote. This bond will have to be deposited by the owner of the preserve and the two guards who at the time the events occurred were in charge of the administration and management of the hunting use of the land. The purpose of the bond is to respond to the possible compensation for the damages caused by the poisonings and the payment of the value of the fauna species that were affected. The judge decrees the holding of the oral trial after six years of instruction.
WWF, SEO / BirdLife and Ecologists in Action exercise popular accusation in this process, highlighting that “the imposition of this bond is important in that it recognizes the value of the damage caused by the illegal use of poisoned baits and shows that placing poisoned baits in the natural environment has economic and legal consequences for the authors ”. The presence in court, carried out within the framework of the projectLife + POISON *, has allowed environmental organizations to convey to judicial bodies and society the seriousness of this threat to biodiversity and to support the research work carried out by environmental agents of Castilla-La Mancha and the Seprona of the Civil Guard.
Between August and September 2011, at least 55 specimens of poisoned animals were located in the private preserve of Casa Nueva, in the municipality of Gerindote, among which were 23 black kites, five marsh harriers, six red kites and an eagle. Iberian imperial, these last two species cataloged in danger of extinction. Subsequent analyzes of the animals confirmed their death due to the effect of two powerful insecticides that had been used to make the baits.
The investigation work of the Poisons Investigation Unit (UNIVE) of the Corps of Environmental Agents of Castilla-La Mancha and the Service for the Protection of Nature (Seprona) of the Civil Guard, made it possible to locate the poisoned animals and determine the imputation of the owner and the two guards as possible authors of the facts.
* The Life + VENENO project
The report on poison in Spain, by SEO / BirdLife and WWF, reveals alarming data on the impact of poison on fauna. Specifically, the study analyzes the mortality with poisoned baits of 18,503 animals in 8,324 episodes. However, despite these large figures, the organizations warn that these cases are only the tip of the iceberg, since it is estimated that only about 10% of the real cases of poisoning are being located. Therefore, the actual number of poisoned animals between 1990 and 2013 would amount to 185,000, an average of almost 9,000 deaths per year.
The highest number of poisoned animals corresponds to the group of raptors, with 34%, followed by domestic mammals (22%), mainly dogs and cats. The group "other birds" represents 11% (with species such as bee-eaters or storks). The next group are terrestrial carnivores, with 9% of the specimens, where the large number of foxes stands out. Pigeons account for 8% of poisonings, corvids for 5%, and wild mammals (with species such as wild boars, rabbits or free) account for almost 3%. This shows that venom is a very non-selective tool, affecting a great variety of species from different faunal groups. 63% of all poisoned animals have been found in Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia.
WWF and SEO / BirdLife denounce that the use of poisoned baits is the most used method to kill predators worldwide and is mainly associated with hunting and extensive livestock farming. A part of these sectors use this massive, non-selective and illegal method to eliminate animals that they consider harmful to livestock or game species.
The placement of poisoned baits is an entrenched practice in our fields, completely ineffective for the objectives it pursues, as well as a massive, non-selective and bloody method for the fauna. For this reason, it is prohibited by national and regional legislation and is classified as a crime in the Penal Code. Poison in the field poses a risk to public health, the environment and domestic animals.
The placement of poisoned baits is an entrenched practice in our fields, completely ineffective for the objectives it pursues, as well as a massive, non-selective and bloody method for the fauna. Poison in the field poses a risk to public health, the environment and domestic animals.
More information: Miguel Ángel Hernández, spokesperson for Ecologists in Action, 608 823 110
With information from: