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56 raptors killed by poisoning

06/26/2021 at 5:46 PM CEST

Red alert in Salamanca. More than a hundred large birds, almost all raptors, have been poisoned and 56 of them have been killed. There are 41 others with a reserved prognosis that are being treated in specialized centers and 20 more damaged, but that could not be captured. All of them appeared in the municipality of Monterrubio de la Armuña, after eating sheep remains. The Junta de Castilla y León and the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard (Seprona) have opened an investigation into this poisoning.

The warning was launched by a neighbor in the area, who observed the presence of several dying ghouls after eating carrion. After the call, agents from the Castilian-Leon Department of the Environment and Seprona began the investigation on the ground.

56 bodies were found, 54 griffon vultures, one black vulture and one black kite. Likewise, another 41 affected specimens were captured alive, 38 of them griffon vultures and the other three black vultures. They were transferred to the ‘Las Dunas’ Wildlife Reception Center, in Salamanca, and to the Wild Animals Recovery Center in Valladolid.

“After the first investigations, no hypothesis can be ruled out as a possible cause of death. However, the results of the analyzes and autopsies will mark the line of investigation & rdquor ;, the Board has informed.

Specialized dogs look for traces of poison

Civil Guard cynological patrol agents from Madrid have joined the prospecting and research work, with the help of dogs specialized in detecting poisons. The dogs look for traces of toxic substances in the corpses, in the vomit and in the ground.

The blood and tissue samples from the carrion and the dead specimens will be sent to the Forensic Toxicology and Veterinary Service of the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Murcia to determine the causes of the deaths.

The Minister for the Environment of Castilla y León, Juan Carlos Suárez-Quiñones, described it as “terrible & rdquor; poisoning, which has caused “serious harm & rdquor; to biodiversity. In his opinion, lThe facts could have “dyes of a criminal nature”, something that will have to be clarified in the courts, once the Seprona concludes the investigation.

The Board provides “all possible collaboration & rdquor; to the Civil Guard to determine who or who are responsible for “this terrible poisoning & rdquor ;. Suárez-Quiñones did not want to confirm or deny that the cause of the deaths is a herbicide or a drug used on farms, as some experts have pointed out.

The three affected species, protected in Spain

The three species affected by the alleged poisoning are protected in SpainTherefore, the person responsible or those responsible would face prison sentences of six months to two years or fines of eight to twenty-four months, as well as special disqualification for a profession or trade related to fauna or flora.

The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) appears in the List of Wild Species in the Special Protection Regime (Lespre), although due to its demographic recovery in recent years it does not meet the criteria to be assigned to any category of threat, according to the “Guide of the birds of Spain & rdquor; from SEO / BirdLife. 80% of the European population of the species is located in Spain.

This species, severely affected for decades by the use of poisons, illegal activity that currently seems to be on the rise, It also faces other problems, such as wind farms and power lines, which are causing many casualties, or disturbances in the breeding colonies.

A giant bird with a wingspan of almost three meters

The black vulture (Aegypius monachus), a giant of almost three meters of wingspan, has its last refuge in the mountains of the center and west of the Peninsula and in those of Mallorca, where the best populations from all over the world are preserved. The persecution suffered for centuries brought this species to the brink of extinction.

The species is included both in the Red Book of the birds of Spain and in the National Catalog of Threatened Species with the category of “vulnerable & rdquor;. The main threat to the black vulture lies in the human annoyances caused by the transit of people near the nests (it is a strictly forest species), SEO / BirdLife highlights.

The black kite (Milvus migrans) is one of the most abundant birds of prey in Europe. It faces numerous threats, but above all, the illegal use of poison, to which the species is very sensitive. But there are also deaths from accidents on power lines, run-over and even from direct persecution by human beings.

It is included in the Red Book of the birds of Spain as “Near threatened & rdquor;, and with the qualification “of special interest & rdquor; in the National Catalog of Threatened Species.

The new regulations related to the removal of dead animals from the field and the treatment of their remains have caused a notable reduction in the food resources of raptors from dumps and extensive livestock, which represents a new risk factor for these three species.

List of protected and threatened species in Spain: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/biodiversidad/temas/conservacion-de-especies/especies-proteccion-especial/ce-proteccion-listado-situacion.aspx

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