Press release 6th March 2012
Major operation against illegal spring hunting in North-Rhine Westphalia
Police and conservationists discover 26 illegally set traps
Ten rural districts involved - trapped Badger released
Bonn. Although it is at present the close season, hunting of birds of prey, foxes, martens and domestic cats is very much on the agenda on many hunting estates in the German federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW). This became clear during Operation Prey Envy that ended today and in the course of which numerous hunting estates were monitored. Some 30 conservationists and police officers participated in the wide scale operation. According to the Committee against Bird Slaughter (CABS), since last Thursday a total of 26 baited and activated traps, for the live capture or killing of wildlife despite the close season, were discovered and seized. The police initiated a number of investigations on the suspicion of poaching, illegal hunting outside the close season and animal cruelty. The rural districts involved included Euskirchen, Heinsberg, Wesel, Kleve, Unna, Borken, Warendorf, Coesfeld, Siegen-Wittgenstein and Rhein-Sieg.
The majority of offences were recorded in the Münsterland and Lower Rhine areas. In Coesfeld for instance three unlawful crow traps for birds of prey as well as several illegal cage traps for foxes and martens were active. Officers from Dülmen police station gathered evidence and began criminal proceedings in several cases. In addition the authorities are checking to find out if planning permission exists for a pheasant breeding run in the middle of woodland near Buldern.
In the parish of Wadersloh and close to Beckum in the Rural District of Warendorf an illegal crow trap was also found, and four tunnel traps for foxes, illegal during the close season, were reported to the authorities. Near Xanten and Rheinberg (Wesel District), four baited and active traps were discovered at the weekend. A map showing the locations together with photos of the traps were handed over to the hunt control authorities and the police.
Near Anholt (Borken District) the conservationists discovered a probably illegally constructed aviary containing a two metre long fox tunnel trap. “Eggs and live ducks, the birds without food and water, had been left in the trap as bait,” states CABS General Secretary Alexander Heyd. “We have therefore also filed official complaints on thergrounds of animal cruelty and infringements of the close season regulations”.
A badger luckily survived being trapped in an active concrete tunnel trap near Uedem in Kleve District on Sunday. The conservationists with police assistance managed to free the distressed animal unharmed. The responsible estate manager has subsequently admitted to setting and baiting the trap, although the close season is still in force.
The suspicion that hunters set traps during the close season to eliminate unwelcome competition for small game was confirmed in six other cases, where traps had been activated in the Rural Districts of Euskirchen, Heinsberg, Unna, Rhein-Sieg-and Siegen-Wittgenstein. The responsible hunting control authorities are investigating all these incidents.
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has comprehensively recorded all incidents with photographs and GPS coordinates. This is available as PDF download below (text in German). Alexander Heyd summarises: “Our data show clearly that there is a relatively large number of black sheep among the hunters in some districts” : in addition the conservationists condemn the release of hand-reared pheasants and the consequent elimination of ‘predators’ as incompatible with ecologically sustainable hunting. CABS therefore supports the plans by Johannes Remmel, the NRW Environment Minister, to severely restrict the use of traps by hunters in the ecologically-orientated revision of the new state hunting law.
|Documentation Op Prey Envy NRW 2012.pdf||2.35 MB|