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Three Golden Eagles shot illegally in the Southern Alps

Italian police break up poaching ring

Bonn/Milan: A poacher in the Southern Alps was caught and arrested by forest police on Saturday for illegally trapping songbirds with a 220 m long mist net. Members of the German organisation, the Committee against Bird Slaughter, had alerted the police after finding the trapping zone. During the subsequent search of the poacher’s house in Sabbio Chiese, N. Italy, Carabinieri officers found a further illegal trapping device and an illegal weapon, more than 50 live decoy birds, as well as a freezer full to the brim with corpses of protected birds.

Under layers of more than 100 birds of protected species such as Robin, Waxwing, Pipits and Wagtails the searchers found some 120 kilo of poached game meat and three freshly shot Golden Eagles.

“The rare bird species were lined up in frozen rows. This is a frightful loss for nature” stated Alexander Heyd, a Committee expert who had coordinated operations on the ground.Golden Eagles are strictly protected throughout the whole of the Alps and were almost made extinct at the turn of the previous century as result of poaching and legal hunting. “The Sabbio Chiese case shows that these times are not yet over” said Heyd. The police and Committee team members believe that the birds were shot in the vicinity of their eyries and were intended to be sold as hunting trophies after being stuffed. It is believed that there are some 350n Golden Eagle pairs in Italy at present and the black market price for a stuffed specimen is around 5000 Euro. The songbirds, which were confiscated as a result of the operations, are a gourmet speciality in Italy and are caught for subsequent sale in restaurants and butcher’s shops.

Charges are being preferred against the poacher.

Source: Komitee g.d. Vogelmord e.V., Axel Hirschfeld. For further information and pictures call +49 228 / 665521 or mail: presse@komitee.de

4th July 2014