Spain’s Guardia Civil has cited what it says is an alarming increase of 70 percent last year in the use of poisoned bait and illegal traps to kill predators in the wild, with the use of poison to kill free-ranging dogs and feral cats in and near urban areas also on the upswing.
Reporting on its efforts in 2019 to halt the placing of poisoned bait and illegal traps by hunters to kill wild predators that prey on animals prized by hunters, the Guardia Civil says that its special SEPRONA wildlife protection unit carried out 298 spot inspections last year, dismantling 47 poison deposits and 1,628 illegal traps set out by hunters and landowners throughout Spain.
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The poisoned bait and illegal traps are found principally in rural areas on and around privately owned properties and adjacent public lands used by hunters, with wild foxes being the chief predator that hunters hope to eliminate. The Guardia Civil said that among the 119 poisoned animals discovered at the site of illegal bait deposits last year, its SEPRONA agents also found several dogs, a dozen vultures and some species that are protected in Spain, including an Iberian lynx, an Imperial eagle and several Royal Kites.
SEPRONA agents made 28 arrests and opened 37 criminal cases against perpetrators, filing reports on an additional 175 regulatory infractions, while confiscating 66 kilos of poison in connection with the 47 poisoned bait deposits dismantled.
The agency said it was concerned over the rise in the use of non-selective illegal traps, with the 1,628 prohibited traps dismantled last year nearly double the 876 discovered the year previous. Of equal concern, said the Guardia Civil, is a rise in the tendency to use poison to kill domestic, free-range dogs and feral cats in some urban and suburban areas.
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