Deutschland – 03. 06. 2020
Raptor persecution in Germany: Cases of illegal persecution on the rise
26 administrative districts in 9 federal states affected
The illegal persecution of protected red kites and other birds of prey has increased again in Germany. According to the Bonn-based raptor persecution and wildlife crime monitoring scheme (E.D.G.A.R.) which is led and coordinated by CABS, the number of cases registered nationwide between January and May 2020 rose from 24 to 30 compared to the same period last year. A total of 26 administrative districts in 9 federal states are now affected.
The vast majority of incidents have been recorded in North Rhine-Westphalia, where 12 criminal cases are currently pending with the police. The main hotspots of illegal prosecutions here are the Heinsberg district and the Münsterland with a total of 7 confirmed cases of poisoning. Further cases have been reported from the districts of Paderborn (shooting of a breeding red kite), Recklinghausen (attempted removal of young goshawks from a nest), Aachen (shooting of a buzzard), Rhein-Erft-Kreis (poisoning of a buzzard) and from the Oberbergischer Kreis (illegal possession of an eagle owl).
Also affected is Schleswig-Holstein, where several red kites were found with typical signs of poisoning in the districts of Segeberg and Plön in April and seized by the police. In addition, a breeding eagle owl was shot dead on a nest near Elmshorn (Pinneberg district) and an activated hawk trapping-basket was found by CABS members in the garden of a pigeon breeder from Dithmarschen district.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been three confirmed cases of poisoning from Bavaria in the districts of Landshut (poisoning of a red kite with Carbofuran and laying of poisoned egg baits) and Schwandorf (hawk trap with live pigeon baits). In another case from the district of Roth there is strong suspicion of poisoning, here the investigations are still ongoing and we await toxicology reports.
Three criminal proceedings are currently pending with the police in Brandenburg concerning the poisoning of a red kite in the Oder-Spree district, the destruction of a goshawk's nest in the Spree-Neisse district and the felling of an occupied sea eagle nesting tree in the Uckermark.
In Lower Saxony, police are investigating two cases from the districts of Ammerland (felling of a white-tailed eagle nesting tree) and Emsland (setting up illegal live traps by a poultry farmer). The authorities in Baden-Württemberg reported the shooting down of a red kite in Pforzheim and the illegal capture of a sparrowhawk in the Ortenau district. Further cases were reported from Thuringia (shooting of a buzzard near Gotha), Saxony-Anhalt (shooting of a peregrine falcon in the Wittenberg district) and Hesse (poisoning of a peregrine falcon near Offenbach).
CABS point out that the cases we are aware of are undoubtedly only a small fraction of the actual crimes committed. "The number of unreported cases of this type of crime is extremely high; we assume that less than 5% of all crimes are actually discovered and confirmed," says CABS CEO Alexander Heyd. In addition, the authorities only very rarely succeed in identifying a perpetrator. For example, the nationwide monitoring operated by E.D.G.A.R. has registered more than 1,300 cases nationwide since 2005, however during the same period only 86 suspects were investigated and later prosecuted. The convicted perpetrators were mainly pigeon breeders, poultry farmers and hunters who consider birds of prey to be a danger to their game or livestock.
Press Contact: Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) registered association, Axel Hirschfeld, (press officer), An der Ziegelei 8, D-53127 Bonn, Tel. +49 228 665521, Email: komitee_at_komitee.de