Hungarian police arrest two hunters blamed for the deaths of rare raptors, including imperial eagles.

DOG TRained to sniff out carbuforanA few days ago, the Hungarian police arrested two hunters who are accused of being responsible for poisoning an imperial eagle, together with other wildlife offences. Poisoning of rare species of birds throughout many parts of Hungary for several years has now reached threatening dimensions. A new initiative has recently been established in co-operation with neighbouring Slovakia using a specially trained dog to search for dead animals which have been poisoned. This project has been very successful  in uncovering several cases of illegal activity involving raptor poisoning.

Hungarian experts have managed to collect enough evidence leading to convict  a number of offenders who are not only members of a local hunting associations, but some of these individuals were also full time employees of local hunting associations.

Two men recently arrested in Hungary are now awaiting trial suspected of killing protected raptors, including imperial eagles.  Conservation experts working with the police  carried out a project focused mainly on the illegal poisoning of Imperial Eagles in both Hungary and Slovakia in a move to bring an end to this illegal activity.  A German Shepherd dog named Falco has been specially trained to locate dead animals which had been poisoned and also find the toxic substances being used to kill protected wildlife, including birds of prey. 

The most common substance used for killing animals in Hungary and Slovakia is carbofuran. The dog Falco has been trained to locate poisoned animals very careful, because if he ingests only a small part of any poisoned bait he discoveres he could succumb to the poison himself  placing his life at risk. Because Carbofuran is known to be a highly toxic poison, even at low concentrations, the substance can kills victims almost immediately.

The reason for the illegal killing of birds of prey in Hungary and in neighbouring Slovakia is because certain groups of people, particularly hunters, regard predators like eagles and other birds of prey responsible for reducing populations of game birds which are shot for sport. Where have we read those words before?

Poisoning is one of the most common methods used to illegally kill birds of prey in Slovakia, especially in lowland areas. In Slovakia in the last 11 years there have been 10 cases where the Imperial Eagle, an endangered species, have been killed by carbofuran poisoning. In additional 6 imperial eagles are known to have been shot dead, and in two other cases the nests of protected raptors, including imperial eagles and saker falcons were robbed of their content. Most of these activities occurred in western Slovakia, where the situation is now regarded as really serious.

Because Falco’s canine abilities have proved so successful in Slovakia the dog’s skills and performance were highlighted  at the the International Imperial Eagle Conference  held in Bratislava in October 2013, which was hosted  by the organization for Raptor Protection of Slovakia. Below one of the poisoned Imperial Eagles.

 

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