Home Threats Poison in Andalusia

In Spain, the illegal use of poison is a very common practice and it is one of the main threats to the conservation of many species of predators and scavengers. Along with direct persecution, the use of poison has been the main cause of the decline of populations of endangered species such as lynx, Iberian imperial eagle, vulture, Cinereous vulture and Egyptian vulture.

In Andalusia, in 2008 the illegal spread of poison caused the death of 188 animals, among which there were specimens of protected species such as the Iberian lynx, the Cinereous vulture, the bearded vulture and the golden eagle.

The province in which the highest number of cases have been identified is Granada, followed by the provinces of Cadiz, Malaga, Jaen, Huelva, Cordoba and Almeria.

The most commonly used substances are plant protection products (in 75.4% of cases) and organophosphates (12.3%). 25 different compounds have been identified, often combined with each other, and in such high concentrations as to result in the death of great size animals.

Most cases of poisoning occur between January and March and especially in hunting reserves ("cotos de caza menor"), with the clear goal of eliminating birds of prey and terrestrial predators.

The Consejería de Medio Ambiente started in 2004 a complex and articulated strategy to fight the use of the poison, which includes measures on several fronts, including the activities of Dog Units that constantly monitor the Andalusian territory, and this is giving amazing results.

In 2008, the Consejería de Medio Ambiente made 386 inspections to detect poisoned baits with Dog Units, during which 147 cases of use of poison were identified.

Most of the inspections (273) were preventive and, to a lesser extent, they were urgent operations.

Currently, Andalusia has two Dog Units, trained to detect toxic substances in food and corpses. The first one was created in 2004, the second in 2007. One of the Dog Units, consisting of eight dogs, operates in western Andalusia, the other one, consisting of five dogs, works in the eastern provinces.

The activity of dog units is just one of the 61 measures adopted by the Consejería de Medio Ambiente in the “Strategy for the eradication of the illegal use of poisoned baits”.

This in addition to the training of the Environmental rangers, the control of the sale of plant protection products, the diagnostic tests, the sensitization raising activities (including meetings in farms concerning the issue of the illegal use of poison), etc.

The commitment of the administration has so far led to the first five sentences for the illegal use of poison.

 

The kit used by the guards of the Junta de Andalucía for the collection of samples of baits and poisoned specimens
The kit used by the guards of the Junta de Andalucía for the collection of samples of baits and poisoned specimens
The kit used by the guards of the Junta de Andalucía for the collection of samples of baits and poisoned specimens
The discovery of a poisoned bait
The discovery of a poisoned bait
The discovery of a poisoned bait