Numerous birds of prey and corvids poisoned in Serbia

Recently, a rare imperial eagle was found poisoned in Northern Serbia – the eagle had fallen victim to a meat bait. While searching for the animal, which was equipped with a radio transmitter, the conservationists made more horrible discoveries.

The imperial eagle lady was christened "Desiree" during her ringing in Austria. It is one of the numerous poison victims in northern Serbia. © Draženko Rajković / BPSSS

A juvenile imperial eagle was found dead on a field near Apatin in Northern Serbia on January 8th, after the signals transmitted by the tagged bird showed no sign of movement any more. The bad feeling of the bird conservationists from Hungary and Serbia came true when they searched the area around the last coordinates that had been transmitted. There they found the eagle, which died from a poisoned meat bait.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case! Since 2014, the EuroNatur partner organisation BPSSS has been regularly finding poisoned birds in Northern Serbia. Around the turn of the year there has been an alarming number of new cases. Therefore the canine unit of the Hungarian colleagues was called in to search for the imperial eagle. The two dogs are specialised in finding poison residues in the field. And the discoveries by the dogs were horrific: Along a route of only one kilometre around the village of Apatin, they found the dead bodies of five poisoned common buzzards, two magpies, seven golden jackals, one fox and one stray dog. Three days later, the two dogs expanded the sad list in another site, among others by finding two dead white-tailed eagles. Several baits have been discovered along these routes – probably treated with the powerful neurotoxin Carbofuran.

The baits mainly target the jackals which are still common in this region. However, other scavengers, including many birds of prey and corvids, feed on the poisoned sheep parts, too, and die from acute cardiovascular failure. EuroNatur and its local partners demand forceful persecution and punishment of wildlife poisoning.

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