misuse of poison

The use of poison in Spain…. What is it killing?

March 21st, 2014

aparecen-envenenadas-1With the latest news coming from Zamora that includes a Spanish Imperial eagle, amongst other carrion birds, killed from the consequences of poisoning, I thought I’d have a search around the net for similar news and information.

The Vulture Conservation Council has an interesting page explaining the use of poisons that has affected Spanish Vultures.

A large number of vulture deaths in Europe can be attributed every year to poisoning, arguably the most important threat impacting on vultures today. Figures from Spain are illustrative – data from the Spanish ministry of agriculture show that between the years 2000 and 2010 a total of 40 bearded vultures, 638 black vultures, 348 Egyptian vultures and 2,146 griffon vultures were found poisoned. (The recent extinction of the bearded vulture in the Balkan Peninsula was largely due to extensive poisoning campaigns against wolves and jackals.) Read the rest of this entry

Poison in the Spanish countryside

January 4th, 2009
Poison is killing Spanish wildlife, it’s official. According to a study carried out by Ecotoxicología, with figures confirmed by the government, the number of dead animals found is only the tip of the iceberg. The study has revealed that in the last 15 years almost 7,000 animals included in the National Catalogue of Endangered Species have perished even though the practice of setting poisoned bait in the countryside has been banned since 1983. In general terms of species affected, the bodies recovered account for only between 5% and 15% of the estimated total of deaths due to poison. The author of the study and director of a forensic wildlife laboratory, one of six such centres in Spain, Mauro Hernández says the figures represent the minimum amount of casualties. Every year at least 800 animals are admitted to his laboratory alone. In the case of the Spanish Imperial eagle, the study believes that for every bird found poisoned another possible nine could be undetected. The problem is proving a stumbling block for many recovery and reintroduction programmes.
The method of setting meat laced with poison is aimed at predators in competition with man such as foxes and wolves but is indiscriminate in its killing. Even a small quantity ingested can weaken an animal and leave it vulnerable to death by other means such as collision with traffic or overhead power cables, or drowning because one of the effects of the poisons most commonly used is severe thirst. Most recent cases have been the discoveries of a Lammergeier and an Iberian lynx, both in Andalucia. 
As in a previous study by WWF/Adena, “Poison in Spain, 1990-2005“, the blame is mainly directed at a small proportion of the hunting and farming communities, the administrations of which are both trying to combat the problem from within. Temporary closure of hunting reserves where poison has been discovered has been found to be insufficient but stricter penalties should help. Two hunters were recently succesfully prosecuted and sentenced to two years in prison for setting poisoned bait on a hunting estate in Lérida, Catalunya. To supplement the national SOS Poison hotline campaign, a network of predator control managers is to be established. Let’s hope that tighter regulations on the selling of the noxious substances follow.
News from El País.
SOS Poison
More information from the Black Vulture Conservation Foundation.