A first for Croatia: a person appears in court accused of poisoning wild animals

At the beginning of the year there were several cases of wild and domestic animals being poisoned in Croatia. Now a 52-year old has appeared in court, the first time that a case of wildlife crime has been tried in Croatia.

© Andrej Vizi

The poisened Golden Eagle: There are still only 25 to 30 pairs in Croatia.

© Biom

In January, hunters in central Croatia discovered the bodies of several wolves and foxes. Our partners from Biom, in conjunction with the police and conservation inspectors, investigated the area for signs of poisoning. They very quickly found traces of poison in the bodies of two calves. Only two weeks after the first finds of the poisoned carrion eaters, officials found further poison victims, including a rare golden eagle. Only a few metres away from the dead eagle there was a dead cow, on which were found the traces of the highly toxic nerve poison Carbuforan. The target of this poisoned bait is above all wolves and jackals, which are hated by many of the farmers in the region because they are believed to prey on cattle. Unfortunately, the poison also affects other carrion eaters such as eagles and vultures.

The investigations lasted six months and the case went to court on 16th July. According to the police, the accused, who is a cattle farmer, was using poisonous substances and thus contravened Croatian and European law. Since the 1980s hunting with poison bait has been illegal in the EU. The case is now with the state prosecution service and our partners will be closely monitoring developments in the court.

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